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ISSUED BY 

DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND FISH 

JOHN H. WALLACE, Commissioner 

MISS SOPHIA WATTS, Secretaru 



BROWN PRINirNQ CO. MONTGOMERY. 



ALABAMA 

-♦©♦ 

Alabama, Alabama, 

We will aye be true to thee ! 

From the southern shore where groweth 

By the sea thy orange tree 

To thy northern vale where floweth, 

Deep and blue thy Tennessee 

Alabama, Alabama, 

We will aye be true to thee ! 

— Julia S. Tutzviler. 



FOREWORD 

-♦©♦• 

To the Teachers of Alabama: 

The conservation of birds is more than a beautiful senti- 
ment ; it is a matter of self-defense. Music and the plumage 
of birds charm us, but their unflagging energies protect in 
ways that we do not sometimes dream. 

In order that our boys and girls may grow up with a just 
appreciation of our feathered friends, and in order to instil 
the proper habits of sympathy instead of wantonness, the 
Department of Game and Fish, of which Hon. John H. 
Wallace, Jr., is Commissioner, has prepared annually for 
many years a most excellent Bird Day Book for the use of 
teachers in the public schools. 

In keeping with the spirit of this book and in conformity 
to law, I am officially designating Friday, May the third, 
immediately preceding the birthday of John James Audubon, 
as "Bird Day" in all the public schools of the State. A 
fitting observance of the day is hereby enjoined and com- 
mended. 

Very respectfully, 




Superintendent. 



SUGGESTIVE PROGRAM 

-♦^♦■ 

(This program may be changed by the teachers to suit 

themselves.) 

Opening song. 

Reading: Life of John James Audubon. 

Talk by teacher, superintendent or some prominent game 
protectionist on the subject of the conservation of birds. 

Recitation : The Call of Spring. 

Reading : How to Go A-Birding. 

Paper on the Game Law, or Purple Martin. 

Recitation: Spring in the Southland. 

Reading: Aesthetic and Sentimental Value of Birds. 

Paper on the Bluebird, Carolina Chickadee, or the Spar- 
row. 

Recitation : Ho, for the Road and the Days of June, The 
Marching of the Legions. 

Reading: Wings and No Wings. Value of Birds to 
Live Stock. 

Recitation : The Wood Trails, August Night, The Little 
Men in Green. 

Paper on services of the birds in the orchard. 

Recitation : The Mourning Dove, I^ady October. 

Reading : Putting Up Bird Boxes. 

Recitation: The Wind Around the Eaves, The Passing 
of a Queen. 

Reading: The Brown Thrasher, The Birds of Killings- 
worth. 

Closing song. 




^x^, ^. ^^^^ 



JOHN JAMES AUDUBON 

1780-1851 

•♦©♦■ 

THE Fourth day of May is the anniversary birthday of John 
James Audubon, the world's greatest naturalist and bird lover. 
Although of French lineage, Audubon was born in Louisiana but 
was educated in France and at the age of eighteen years returned 
to America. He always had a passionate love for this country. In 
1808, he had his residence in ^Louisville, Kentucky, and when he 
attended to his business, everything went well, but the feathered 
choristers of the woods persistently called him and his passion for 
wild life drew him frequently near to Nature's great throbbing 
heart. 

Leaving Louisville he went to Hendersonville where he became 
involved in debt. Failing in business, he surrendered everything to 
his creditors except his gun. He made diligent efforts to strangle 
his wandering tendencies and earn a support for his family but 
failed on account of his lack of business capacity. In the meanwhile 
he had been making original drawings of birds. In 1821, he accepted 
a position as tutor with a family near New Orleans; and in 1836, 
the proceeds from a dancing class, amounting to two thousand 
dollars, enabled him to sail to England with his beloved drawings. 

Audubon had never looked into an English grammar and had 
forgotten most of what he had learned in French and Spanish. He 
always felt shy in the presence of strangers. He was a man habitu- 
ated to ramble alone with his thoughts bent on the beauties of 
nature. Imagine this man seated opposite Prof. Brewton, of Eden- 
borough, and by his puny efforts trying to describe the habits of 
birds. His pictures were exhibited and he was made a member of 



Bird Day Book 



one of the leading scientific societies of England, and best of all, his 
plans for publication had definite shape. 

His book was published in 1838, consisting of four elephant folios 
containing one thousand and sixty-five life-size portraits of birds in 
their natural surroundings, which was called "The Birds of Amer- 
ica." 

He returned to America and spent his remaining days in all 
climates and in all weather, scorched by burning suns, drenched by 
piercing rains, frozen by the fiercest cold ; now diving into the densest 
forest, now wandering alone through the most savage regions; in 
perils, in difficulties, in doubt, with no companion to cheer his life — 
listening only to the sweet music of the birds, or to the sweeter 
music of his own thoughts, he faithfully kept his path. 

The records of few lives contain nobler examples of strength and 
endurance and indefatigable energy. 




Alabama, ipi8. 



THE CALL OF SPRING 

-♦^♦- 

CHILDREN, my children, the spring wakes anew, 
And calls through the dawn and the daytime 
For flower-like and fleet-footed maidens like you, 
To share in the joy of its playtime. 

O'er hillside and valley, through garden and grove, 

Such exquisite anthems are ringing 
Where rapturous bulbul and mina and dove 

Their carols of welcome are singing. 

I know where the ivory lilies unfold 

In brooklets half-hidden in sedges, 
And the air is aglow with the blossoming gold 

Of thickets and hollows and hedges. 

I know where the dragon-flies glimmer and glide^ 
And the plumes of wild peacocks are gleaming, 

Where the fox and the squirrel and timid fawn hide 
And the hawk and the heron lie dreaming. 

The earth is ashine like a humming-birds wing, 
And the sky like a kingfisher's feather, 

O come, let uS go and play with the spring 
Like glad-hearted children together. 

— Sarojini Naidu. 



8 



Bird Day Book 



SPRING 

THE alder by the river 
Shakes out her powdery curls ; 
The willow buds in silver 
For little boys and girls. 



The little birds fly over, 
And oh, how sweet they sing! 
To tell the happy children 
That once again 'tis spring. 



The gay green grass comes creeping 
So soft beneath their feet; 
The frogs begin to ripple 
A music clear and sweet. 



And buttercups are coming, 
And scarlet columbine ; 
And in the sunny meadows 
The dandelions shine. 



And just as many daisies 
As their soft hands can hold 
The little ones may gather, 
All fair in white and gold. 



Here blows the warm red clover, 
There peeps the violet blue ; 
O, happy little children, 
God made them all for you ! 

— Celia Thaxter. 



Alabama, ipi8. 9 

HOW TO GO A-BIRDING 

♦©♦• 

IT HAS seemed to me that, instead of calling on the birds per- 
sonally, it might be pleasant to tell how to conduct our visits and 
observations. What is the modus operandi of bird study ? 

We would suggest, first, that one should go a-birding with his 
heart. Nature requires undivided attention. She can brook no 
rival if you would win from her the choice secrets of her being. If 
you give her only half a mind, she will give you but half of her 
revelation. You must give her your confidence before she will 
become communicative. Dismiss your ledgers, your politics, your 
family wrangles, the annoyances of the schoolhouse, from your 
thought when you go consorting with Nature. You must have a 
bird in the heart if you would see and appreciate the bird in the 
bush. It is the heart, too, that sharpens the eyes. Not all persons 
can become bird students because not all have the requisite enthu- 
siasm; not all are enrapport. 

Odd as it may appear, I would say, do not be too scientific. Not 
one word would I utter in disparagement of the specialist and the 
technical student, providing he feels certain that he can add some- 
thing new and valuable to science; but for popular amateur bird 
study I should protest against the slaughter of feathered innocents 
either for identification or structural research. Do not look upon 
birds as mere anatomical specimens. You need not kill and dissect 
birds to know all that is necessary about their structure; for there 
are many scientific books that will tell you all about their physiology 
and anatomy. 

Study birds as sentient creatures, as interesting individuals, 
with wonderful instinct and intelligence. The bird anatomist loves 
science more than he loves birds, or he would never want to kill them 
and take them apart. 

If you really love the birds you will want to study them just as 
they are in their outdoor haunts, where they obey the impulses of 
their volatile nature. To do this a good opera glass is a requisite. 
It partly annihilates distance, and brings the bird up to your eyes. 
You should get one with a large eye-piece, for with a small one you 
will find some diflficulty in focussing the binocular upon the desired 
object. Be sure to avoid a glass that has bright colors, which will 
reflect the gleam of the sun into your eyes. Dark colors are best. 



10 Bird Day Book 

A bird key or manual is indispensable for purposes of identifica- 
tion. Somehow, you cannot enjoy the bird's society until you know- 
its cognomen. A bird's name may even be very inapt, and yet — well, 
there is something in a name, even if it seems un-Shakespearean to 
say so. It is a wonderful satisfaction to know that the flitting piece 
of diminution in yonder tree is a golden-crowned kinglet, and not 
a warbler or a vireo. I refer to the English names now in vogue 
among scientific men. 

Do you ask when you had better begin the study of birds? 
Now ! In bird study, as in most right pursuits, "now is the accepted 
time." — Leander S. Keyser. 



m 



THE RAIN SONG 

IT ISN'T raining rain to me. 
It's raining daifodils ; 
In ev'ry dimpling drop I see 

Wild flowers on the hills, 
A cloud of gray engulfs the day 

And overwhelms the town; 
It isn't raining rain to me. 
It's raining roses down. 

It isn't raining rain to me, 

But fields of clover bloom, 
Where any buccaneering bee 

May find a bed and room. 
A health, then, to the happy, 

A fig to him who frets ; 
It isn't raining rain to me, 

It's raining violets. 

— Robert Loveman. 



i_ 



Alabama, ipi8. 11 



% 



THE CEDAR WAXWING 

A BEAUTIFUL gray-brown bird is he, 
With a crest on his velvet head, 
Which stands erect when he is surprised, 

And is flattened tight in dread ; 
When contented and happy loose it lies — 
As when he is bountifully fed. 

His wings and tail are of softest gray 
That blend to a darker shade ; 

On his wings are scarlet wax-like tips 
That seem by magic made ; 

On his breast and the band across his tail 
The "Golden Touch" was laid. 

He and his roving flock alight 

Where berries and seeds they spy ; 

Well-fed, they perch on a bough of a tree 
In a row, remote and shy; 

They preen their coats, and whisper and lisp, 
And then away they fly. 

—A. U. B. 



m 



12 Bird Day Book 

CEDAR WAXWINGS 

-♦©♦• 

THE presence of certain horny, bright red, wax-like drops on the 
tips of the feathers of the wings have won for these birds the 
appropriate name of waxwings. They are small arboreal birds, some 
six or eight inches in length, with long, pointed wings in which the 
outer or tenth primary is so much reduced as to be almost impercep- 
tible. The whole plumage is very soft, the prevailing color being 
a soft fawn-color, changing to ashy on the rump and upper tail- 
coverts, while the wings are slate. They feed on berries and fruits 
of various kinds, as well as occasional insects which they capture on 
the wing after the manner of flycatchers. Their nests, which are 
rather bulky affairs, are placed in trees and composed of small twigs, 
rootlets, etc.", lined with strips of bark, feathers and other soft mate- 
rials. The eggs, usually three to five in number, are dull bluish 
or purplish gray, spotted and dotted with dark brown, black and 
purplish. 

"In clothing the cedar bird Mother Nature essayed her very 
best and reached the limit of quiet elegance. As if aware of the 
distinction conferred by its smooth delicately tinted plumage, the 
waxwing has the air of a well-bred aristocrat, and comports itself 
with a dignity that is very impressive. Why this beautiful creature 
should be denied a voice is a mystery but, with the exception of the 
faintest kind of a whistle and a few low notes, seldom heard, the 
bird is silent. But its beauty and the good it does should insure its 
careful protection. 

"Except during the nesting season, which is very late, the bird 
is a wanderer, moving about the country in flocks and remaining a 
shorter or longer time in a given locality according to the abundance 
of food. The waxwing is a berry eater and its local name of 
'cherry bird' indicates that it by no means disdains cultivated varie- 
ties. Fortunately the bulk of the fruit it takes consists of wild 
species, especially in winter, when cedar berries are greedily de- 
voured. In the West it includes in its bill of fare mulberries and 
pepper berries. While insects constitute only a comparatively small 
percentage of its diet, those eaten include some very destructive 
species such as scales and the dreaded elm beetle." — Farmers' Bul- 
letin. 






Alabama, ipi8. 13 



AN ODE TO SPRING 

IS IT the Spring? 
Or are the birds all wrong 
That play on flute and viol, 

A thousand strong, 
The minstrel galleries 

Of the long deep wood, 
Epiphanies 

Of bloom and bud. . . . 

And many a silly thing 

That hops and cheeps, 
And perks his tiny tail, 

And sidelong peeps, ' 

And flitters little wing, * 

Seems in his consequential way 
To tell of Spring. I 

The river warbles soft and runs 

With fuller curve and sleeker line. 
Though all the winter-blackened hedge 

Twigs of unbudding iron shine, 
And trampled still the riversedge. 

And O the sun ! 

I have no friend as generous as this sun 
That comes to meet me with his big warm hands. 

And O the sky! ... 
As the pure kiss of greening willow stands 

Against the intense pale blue 
Of this sweet boundless overarching waste. 

— Richard Le Gallienne. 



14 Bird Day Book 

THE SPARROW 

Sparrow^ the gun is levell'd, quit that wall. 
— Without the will of heaven I cannot fall. 

THERE are some forty species of sparrows in North America 
which are helpful rather than harmful and should be encour- 
aged rather than discouraged; at least, this is the opinion of the 
United States department of agriculture's investigator. While the 
English sparrow is noisy and obtrusive, the American species are 
unobtrusive both in song and action. 

These native sparrows, although so seldom noticed by the 
majority of people, may probably be found in nearly every part of 
our country, although not more than a half dozen forms are gen- 
erally known in any one locality. While American sparrows are 
noted seed eaters, they do not by any means confine themselves to a 
vegetable diet. During the summer, and especially in the breeding 
season, they eat many insects and feed their young largely upon the 
same food. Examination of stomachs of three species — the song 
sparrow, chipping sparrow, and field sparrow shows that about one- 
third of the food consists of insects, comprising many injurious 
beetles, as snout beetles or weevils, and leaf beetles. Many grass- 
hoppers are eaten. 

In case of the chipping sparrow, these insects form one-eighth 
of the food. Grasshoppers would seem to be rather large morsels, 
but the bird probably confines itself to the smaller species ; indeed, 
the greatest amount (over 36 per cent) is eaten in June, when the 
larger species are still young and the smaller most numerous. Be- 
sides the insects already mentioned, many wasps and bugs are taken. 
As a whole, the insect diet of the native sparrows may be considered 
beneficial. There are several records of potato bug larvae eaten by 
chipping sparrows. 

Their vegetable food is limited almost exclusively to hard seeds. 
This might seem to indicate that the birds feed to some extent upon 
grain, but the stomachs examined show only one kind, oats, and but 
little of that. The great bulk of the food is made up of grass and 
weed seed, which form almost the entire diet during winter, and the 
amount consumed is immense. 



Alabama, igi8. 15 

In the agricultural regions of the upper Mississippi valley by 
roadsides, on borders of cultivated fields, or in abandoned fields, 
wherever they can obtain a foothold, masses of rank weeds spring 
up and often form almost impenetrable thickets which afford food 
and shelter for immense numbers of birds and enable them to with- 
stand great cold. A person visiting one of these weed patches on a 
sunny morning in January, when the thermometer is 20 degrees or 
more below zero, will be struck with the life and animation of the 
busy little inhabitants. Instead of sitting forlorn and half frozen, 
they may be seen flitting from branch to branch, twittering and flut- 
tering, and showing every evidence of enjoyment and perfect com- 
fort. If one of them is captured it will be found in excellent con- 
dition; in fact, a veritable ball of fat. 

The snowbird and tree sparrow are perhaps the most numerous 
of all the winter sparrows. Examination of many stomachs shows 
that in winter the tree sparrow feeds entirely upon seeds of weeds. 
Probably each bird consumes about one-fourth of an ounce a day. 

The writer of the new bulletin has estimated the amount of weed 
seed annually destroyed by these birds in Iowa. On the basis of 
one-fourth of an ounce of seed eaten daily by each bird, and an 
average of ten birds to each square mile, remaining in their winter 
range of 200 days, there would be a total of 1,750,000 pounds, or 
875 tons of weed seed consumed in a single season by this one 
species. Large as are these figures, they unquestionably fall far 
short of the reality. 

The estimate of ten birds to a square mile is very conservative, 
for in Massachusetts, where the food supply is less than in the 
western states, the tree sparrow is even more abundant than this in 
winter. 

In Iowa several thousand tree sparrows have been seen within 
the space of a few acres. This estimate, moreover, is for a single 
species, while, as a matter of fact, there are at least a half a dozen 
birds (not all sparrows) that habitually feed during winter on these 
seeds. 

Farther South the tree sparrow is replaced in winter by the 
white-throated sparrow, the white-crowned sparrow, the fox-spar- 
row, the song sparrow, the field sparrow, and several others ; so that 
all over the land a vast number of these seed eaters are at work 
during the colder months, reducing next year's crop of worse than 
useless plants. — Department of Agriculture. 



16 Bird Day Book 

SPRING IN THE SOUTHLAND 

FROM a thicket in the corner of a zigzag fence, 
Where the succulent pokeberry stalks uprear, 
With sassafras and sumac in a wild growth dense, 

The blackberry blossoms thro' the brown rails peer ; 
With dewdrops shining on their long white sprays. 

Where the yellow bee buzzes and the red bird flies, 
They marvel at the world and its new found ways, 
With innocent wonder in their wild, sweet eyes. 

Magnolias are white. 
And roses are bright, 

And many there be that love them. 
But with dewsprinkled faces. 
And wild wood graces. 

Oh, the blackberry blooms are above them. 

Where the pine boughs are swinging, in the soft May breeze. 

And bumble bees are boasting of their spring tide gain, 
And the mocking bird is singing out his happiest glees. 

To the cotton-tailed rabbit in the bend of the lane ; 
They lean their faces on the moss-grown rails. 

And listen to the melody the mocking bird weaves ; 
While the lizards go a-darting with their trembling tails, 

Like slim long shutters through the last year's leaves. 

Chrysanthemums are fair. 
And orchids are rare. 

And many there be that love them, 
But with dewsprinkled faces, 
And wildwood graces. 

Oh, the blackberry blooms are above them. 

— Samuel Minium Peck. 



Alabama, ipi8. 17 

SPRING 

-♦^^ 

SPRING was stirring at the heart of the world, sending new 
currents of sap into the veins of the trees, new aspirations into 
dead roots and fibres, fresh hopes of bloom into every sleeping rose. 
Life incarnate knocked at the wintry tomb; eager, unseen hands 
were rolling away the stone. The tide of the year was rising, soon 
to break into the wonder of green boughs and violets, shimmering 
wings and singing winds. — A Spinner in the Sun. 



m 



KINGBIRD 

♦©♦ 

"Bold watchman, you're a noble bird. 
For when your war-like heart is stirred 
You'll chase the eagle in his flight 
'Till he has reached the mountain height." 

THE kingbird, or bee-martin, is about eight and a half inches 
long. It is grayish slate-color, becoming darker on the head 
and pure white washed with grayish on the breast, the tail being 
black tipped with white ; through the middle of the crown runs a 
streak of bright orange-red. They are noisy birds, always quarrel- 
ing about something. These birds are extremely fond of insects, 
and watch for them from favorite peixhes. The note is a series of 
shrill, harsh sounds like "thsee," "thsee." They make their nests 
of sticks, rootlets, grass, strings, etc., and place it in orchard trees 
or open woods at any height. Four or five creamy white eggs, 
specked and spotted with reddish brown, are laid. 



18 Bird Day Book 

LONGINGS FOR SPRING 

IF I could come when springtime comes 
And breathe the April sky 
And see the pageant of the flowers 

In purple bloom go by; 
If I could come when robin wakes 

And lie upon the hill, 
And watch the gradual green return, 
And hear the tinkling rill ! 

If I could come when springtime comes 

And feel its sun and rain, 
And see the old, divine event 

Of life renewed again; 
If I could come a little while 

Each year through all the years, 
Why, then, I would not strive with death 

And would not think of tears ! 

If I could come when springtime comes 

And watch its violet birth. 
And see the little green fields run 

Together round the earth ; 
And hear the mating songs once more. 

The heart-beat of the lark, 
I would not fear the dust of death 

Nor dread the utter dark! 

If I could come when springtime comes 

And drink its beauty down, 
And see its little blooms creep up 

To take the noisy town; 
Oh, I would lie and never wake 

Through all that other time, 
With folded hands and marble flesh 

And lips devoid of rhyme ! 



Alabama, ipi8. 19 

If I could come when springtime comes 

And on my brow its breath, 
Oh, well-a-day the dreamless years 

In quiet halls of death! 
If I could drink of the ruby wine, 

And watch the blooms again, 
And hear the birds, and see the leaves. 

And feel the April rain! 

— Exchange. 



^ 



THE AESTHETIC AND SENTIMENTAL VALUE OF BIRDS 

♦ © ♦ 

OMITTING all mention of various other material benefits 
which birds confer on man, I will notice briefly their aesthetic 
and sentimental values. 

Bird life is the part of the creation in which nature has done 
more in the way of bestowing mental benefactions on man than in 
any other of her works. Unconsciously received, yet born of it, 
there is a spiritual teaching, an uplifting influence, in the study of 
birds which tends to make a man act more constantly from prin- 
ciple, which tends to give a new and a more wholesome tone to his 
whole life. » 

The companionship of birds affords a happiness as pure, per- 
haps, and as permanently exquisite as a man in his present state of 
being can possibly enjoy. Never came purer joy into my life than 
when, rising at dawn from my couch of fern, I heard the approach 
of the coming day heralded by a chorus of glad bird voices. Never 
have I experienced emotions which have so lastingly impressed my 
mind as when, in the inexpressible mystery of the darkened forest, 
with the stars drifting over, I listened to the sublime notes of some 
feathered psalmist, itself in night invisible. 

The world itself is but an outline sketch ; it is the birds which 
fill in the details and complete the picture. Towered vapors of the 



20 Bird Day Book 

summer firmament hang on the wall of the sky against a setting 
of immutable blue ; the trees are motionless ; the glassy waters of 
the lake too idle to curve and break upon the shore. Nothing speaks 
of life or action. Suddenly, hitherto unseen in leafy tracery, a bird 
rushes out and up into the air, telling the sunshine all its joy. One 
can almost hear the mechanism start. The world begins to live and 
move. What artist is there who does not know this? Even when 
painting either of the two most majestic scenes on the earth — the 
ocean or the Himalayas — he adds this stimulating power to his 
canvas. 

To turn from the palette to the pen, what poet is there who 
has not been inspired by birds ? From the background of my mem- 
ory a thousand instances of such inspiration come leaping forth. 
Shelley, Coleridge, and Longfellow, to mention three only of our 
singers, have been each rendered immortal in virtue of the power 
exerted on their minds by the bird. "To a Skylark," "The Ancient 
Mariner," and "The Birds of Killingsworth" are poems that are 
imperishable. 

The Mexicans felt the poetry when they looked upon the hum- 
ming-birds as emblems of the soul, as the Greeks regarded the but- 
terfly, and held that the spirits of their warriors who had died in 
the defense of their religion were transformed into these exquisite 
creatures in the mansion of the sun. 

Earth holds no joy to the eye more sweet than the sight of one 
of these living gems as it flits to and fro with the shrillest vibration 
of swiftly beating wings, hovers for an instant in the shade of a 
pendulous blossom, shoots out again into the sunshine, darts away 
after an insect, wheels round and round in sheer exuberance of 
spirit, returns to sip at the nectared cup, then flashes up again, glit- 
tering with all the colors of the prism, into its home in the air. 

Was all this beauty for no purpose but for the gratification of a 
passing fashion? Is man constitutionally unable to realize that in 
the beauty of these feathered jewels there is a value greater than the 
value that is entered in a ledger ? Children gather flowers of the 
field, and, presently, their fleeting fancy sated, toss them aside to 
wither and die. But the seeds, the roots, remain. The daisy will 
bloom another year ; the cowslip will stain the meadows yellow as of 
yore ; but these blossoms of the air will never bloom again. Once 
gone, they are gone forever. — James Buckland. 



Alabama, ipi8. 21 

MEADOWLARKS 

♦©♦ 

THY notes are silenced, and thy plumage mew'd; 
Say, drooping minstrel, both shall be renew'd. 
— Voice will return — I cannot choose but sing; 
Yet liberty alone can plume my wing ; 
Oh, give me that ! — I will not, cannot fly 
Within a cage less ample than the sky ; 
Then shalt thou hear, as if an angel sing. 
Unseen in air, heaven's music from my tongue ; 
Oh ! give me that ! — I cannot rest at ease 
On meaner perches than the forest trees ; 
There, in thy walk, while evening shadows roll. 
My song shall melt into thine inmost soul; 
But, till thou let thy captive bird depart, 
The sweetness of my strain shall wring thy heart. 

LENGTH, about 10^ inches. Range: Breed generally in the 
United States, southern Canada, and Mexico to Costa Rica; 
winter from the Ohio and Potomac Valleys and British Columbia 
southward. 

Habits and economic status : Our two meadowlarks, though 
differing much in song, resemble each other closely in plumage and 
habits. Grassy plains and uplands covered with a thick growth of 
grass or weeds, with near-by water, furnish the conditions best 
suited to the meadowlark's taste. The song of the western bird is 
loud, clear, and melodious. That of its eastern relative is feebler and 
loses much by comparison. In many localities the meadowlark is 
classed and shot as a game bird. From the farmer's standpoint 
this is a mistake, since its value as an insect eater is far greater than 
as an object of pursuit by the sportsman. Both the boll weevil, the 
foe of the cotton grower, and the alfalfa weevil are among the 
beetles it habitually eats. Twenty-five per cent of the diet of this 
bird is beetles, half of which are predaceous ground beetles, account- 
ed useful insects, and one-fifth are destructive weevils. Caterpillars 
form 11 per cent of the food and are eaten in every month in the 
year. Among these are many cutworms and the well-known army 
worm. Grasshoppers are favorite food and are eaten in every month 
and almost every day. The vegetable food (24 per cent of the 
whole) consists of grain and weed seeds. — Yearbook U. S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. 



22 '_ Bird Day Book 

BUD AND BLOOM 

NOW fades the last long streak of snow, 
Now burgeons every maze of quick 
About the flowering squares and thick 
By ashen roots and violets blow. 

Now rings the woodland loud and long, 

The distance takes a lovelier hue, 

And drowned in yonder living blue 
The lark becomes a sightless song. 

Now dance the lights on lawn and lea. 

The flocks are whiter down the vale, 

And milkier every milky soil, 
On 'winding stream or distant sea. 

. ■ , . . ■ ..AVherp.now the seaman pipes, or dives 

In yonder gleaming gleam, and fly 
. • - The happy birds, that change their sky i 



To build and breed, that live their lives 



From land to land; and in my heart [ 

Spring wakens, too; and my regret \ 

Becomes an April violet, ; 

And buds and blossoms like the rest. ; 

— Alfred Tennyson. ■ 

AAA 
A LITTLE BIRD TOLD YOU 



I SAW a little bird today 
Go winging through the blue, 
And by that little bird I sent 

A kindly thought to "you. 
So, if you feel the friendliness 
Of an absent one enfold you, 
Just smile and say it's sprriething that 
A' little bird has told you. 



i 



Alabama, iQi8. 23 



MY LADY APRIL 

-♦^^ 

WHEN down the stair at morning 
The sunbeams round her float, 
Sweet rivulets of laughter 

Are bubbling in her throat; 
The gladness of her greeting 

Is gold without alloy; 
And in the morning sunlight 
I think her name is Joy. 

When in the evening twilight 

The quiet book-room lies, 
We read the sad old ballads, 

While from her hidden eyes 
The tears are falling, falling. 

That give her heart relief; 
And in the evening twilight, 

I think her name is Grief. 

My little April lady, 

Of sunshine and of showers, 
She weaves the old spring magic 

And breaks my heart in flowers ! 
But when her moods are ended, 

She nestles like a dove; 
Then, by the pain and rapture, 

I know her name is Love. 

— Henry Van Dyke. 



i 



24 Bird Day Book 

BLUE JAY 

■♦^^ 

Thou hast a crested poll, a scutcheon'd wing, 
Fit for a herald of the eagle king. 
But such a voice ! I would that thou couldst sing. 
— My bill has tougher work, — to scream for fright. 
And then, when screaming will not do, to bite. 

-♦^♦■ 

LENGTH, 11^ inches. The brilliant blue of the wings and tail 
combined with the black crescent of the upper breast and the 
crested head distinguish this species. Range : Resident in the eastern 
United States and southern Canada, west to the Dakotas, Colorado, 
and Texas. 

Habits and economic status: The blue jay is of a dual nature. 
Cautious and silent in the vicinity of its nest, away from it it is bold 
and noisy. Sly in the commission of mischief, it is ever ready to 
scream "thief" at the slightest disturbance. As usual in such cases, 
its remarks are applicable to none more than itself, a fact jneighbor- 
ing nest holders know to their sorrow, for during the breeding sea- 
son the jay lays heavy toll upon the eggs and young of other birds, 
and in doing so deprives us of the services of species more beneficial 
than itself. Approximately three-fourths of the annual food of the 
blue jay is vegetable matter, the greater part of which is composed 
of mast, i. e., acorns, chestnuts, beechnuts, and the like. Corn is 
the principal cultivated crop upon which this bird feeds, but stomach 
analysis indicates that most of the corn taken is waste grain. Such 
noxious insects as wood-boring beetles, grasshoppers, eggs of vari- 
ous caterpillars, and scale insects constitute about one-fifth of its 
food. — Farmers' Bulletin. 




AMERICAN BLLK-JAV, 
J Life-size 



COPVRIQHT 1900, BV A, W. MUMfORD, CHICAGO 



i 



Alabama, ipi8. 25 

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE 

THE swallow-tailed kite is not only one of the most common 
birds of prey in the South, but also one of the most beneficial. 
Its head, neck, and lower parts are white, and its back, wings, and 
tail, a glossy bluish black. The bird is as much at home in the air as 
a swift or swallow, usually feeding and drinking without alighting. 
Its ease and grace of movement always command admiration. 

This kite preys upon beetles, wasps, cotton worms, grasshoppers, 
and dragonflies. It takes also frogs, lizards, and small snakes. The 
swallow-tailed kite seems to be entirely innocent of preying upon 
birds or mammals, after the fashion of so many of its raptorial rela- 
tives, and on the whole is a species worthy of preservation. — W. L. 
M. in Farmers' Bulletin. 

4^ 0. A 
THE PURPLE MARTIN 



BIRD beloved by keen-eyed Indians, 
"Bird that never rests;" 
Cherished, too, by Southern negroes, 

Who provide them nests, 
Knowing thus their tiny chickens 

Safe from hawks will be ; 
Valued, too, by northern farmers. 
As crows' enemy. 

Martins seek the sheltering houses. 

Placed where insects hum 
Midst a tangle of sweet blossoms ; 

But if sparrows come, 
The noisy, selfish, rude intruders 

For those homes will fight, 
Till the vanquished purple martins 

Take a speedy flight. 

—A. E. B. 



26 Bird Day Book 

SPRING SIGNS IN SUNNY SOUTH 
-♦^♦■ 

Thd spring is on the way, along the land 

The light falls tenderly into the gloom, 
And here — here in the dusk close where I stand — 

A little bush is lit with jasmine bloom. 

THERE are some days that lean from the edge of the winter, and 
peer on tip-toe into the approaching spring, gathering a soft- 
ness that at once arouses a sleepy smile in the heart. Such was a 
recent day when I drove from the city into a neighboring woods. 
The road was the color of gold, and as smooth. Now and then a 
cardinal bird made a line of radiance through the gray old trees, 
whose tops are massed with red berries that look at a distance like 
brilliant florescence. Most of the birds I saw that day were gray. 
A sparrow sat so listlessly in a tree-top that he looked like a sort of 
fungus growth. The mocking-bird on the fence was looking for a 
worm — not a song. It is yet winter, although the cold days are 
getting ready to depart. 

As I drove under the thick trees, I heard a jay bird singing a 
song overhead. The jay bird is beautiful and cheerful, and his song 
suggests industry. It seemed then that the bird was pushing a spirit 
wheelbarrow through space. 

Watery spots lay like scraps of blue sky on the rim of the forest, 
and the rainy paths were blue. Trees near and far seemed painted 
with cobalt and gray, while the fields were a harmony of amber and 
brown. One pale stretch of grass begged for the sunshine. The 
thick tangle, that in late autumn was an even snow-drift of asters, 
was everywhere brown along the roadside. All the flakes of this lit- 
tle weed disappeared with the first frost. 

Today the sun mantles us with the warmth of spring, and every- 
where are signs that the bleak winter days are over. — Kate Slaugh- 
ter McKinney, Montgomery, Alabama, in Simmons Magazine. 



Alabama, ipi8. 27 

APRIL'S GIFT 

John Burroughs, Born April 3, 1837 
-♦©♦• 

APRIL, the child of sunshine and of rain, 
Of the far heaven and of the near, sweet earth, 
Calls ever back, after the winter's dearth, 
Soft flashing wings to beat the air again, 
Pale petaled flowers to star the barren plain, 
The maple's rubies, — gems of unpriced worth ; 
And meet it is that she should bring to birth 
A soul to whom earth whispers not in vain ; 
To -'him the great rocks and the glaciers hoar 
Yield up the past's dim, unremembered hours, 
The future speaks through prophesying trees, — 
Yet, no less wise in all today's sweet lore. 
He reads the secrets of the birds and flowers. 
And hears the honied songs of garnering bees. 

Earth's lowlier creatures play about his feet, — 
Why should they fear the presence of a friend? 
Eager its little confidence to lend 
The chipmunk builds for him its safe retreat ; 
The nesting bird comes forth, his touch to meet, 
From the bloom-laden boughs which o'er him bend; 
From far and near, where'er his footsteps wend. 
He brings back Nature's message, high and sweet. 
Far has he fared : his face is toward the West, 
But all the sky is soft with roseate glow, 
Upon his pathway lies no cloud of gloom, — 
For they who follow on such happy quest 
Still hear the bugles of the morning blow, 
Within their hearts undying April's bloom. 

— Frances Beers. 



28 



Bird Day Book 



THE PURPLE MARTIN 

THE purple martin and its Pacific coast relative, progne subis 
hesperia, are too well known to need a detailed description. The 
adult male is a lustrious blue-black, the wings and tail being slightly 




PURPLE MARTIN. LENGTH, ABOUT 8 INCHES 

duller. The adult female and the young of both sexes are grayish 
brown, glossed with steel-blue on upper parts, while beneath they 
are dark gray, shading into whitish on the belly. The size of the 



Alabama, ipi8. 29 

martin is about seven and one-half inches in length, but the great 
spread of wings, from fifteen to sixteen inches, makes the bird look 
very much larger than it really is. 

During summer the martin is a bird of very wide distribution 
in temperate North America; in autumn it migrates to the tropics, 
where it spends the winter. There are eight species of this genus 
of the swallow family, all of them being confined to America. Be- 
fore the white man discovered and settled the western world, gen- 
erations of martins had made their annual journeys from their 
tropical winter homes to the temperate parts of both continents. 
Their nesting sites were then in hollow trees or in caves. While 
forests and rocky retreats have not been entirely abandoned by the 
martins, yet many of them now breed in homes provided for them 
by man. The red man, a true lover of nature, invited the cheerful 
martins to remain about his tepee by erecting a pole on which he 
hung a hollow gourd, for a nesting place. The white successor of 
the aborigine has adopted his red brother's bird friend, often provid- 
ing a far more elaborate home for its use. 

Is there anything in the bird world that represents home life 
and community of interests as well as a colony of martins? Con- 
tentment, happiness, prosperity are here, and the cheerful, social 
twitter of the martins and their industrious habits are a continual 
sermon from the air to their brothers of the earth. The only note 
of discord in one of these happy colony houses is from the pug- 
nacious English sparrow, who covets the comfortable homes of the 
martins and tries to evict the rightful owners and substitute his 
harsh, disagreeable chatter for their pleasant voices. 

The value of the martin to the human race is very great. The 
birds are so preeminently aerial that their food necessarily consists 
of flying insects. Among these may be some of the dreaded Ste- 
gomyia. It is a well-established fact that this and other species of 
mosquito convey both malarial and yellow fever. Every mosquito, 
therefore, that is destroyed by a martin, or, in fact, by any bird, 
lessens so much the chance of the spread of fever plagues. Human 
lives are sacrificed every year ; immense sums of money are ex- 
pended for investigation and prevention of yellow fever, yet in some 
localities where this scourge is found the martin is not understood 
and appreciated as it should be. If one human life is saved each 
year through the destruction of fever-bearing mosquitoes by the 



30 Bird Day Book 

martins, and other birds, it is a sufficient reason why the lives of 
these valuable birds should be saved. 

Martins are accustomed to gather in large flocks during the 
latter part of summer for the purpose of roosting in some favored 
grove. As they journey southward, apparently, these flocks increase 
in size, and the writer has on several occasions watched the birds 
coming to their roosts in the evening in astonishing numbers, esti- 
mated at 100,000. They seem to prefer a grove, near a human 
habitation, for their nightly rendezvous. They create no little 
comment in the neighborhood because of their numbers, and by their 
continuous chatter and fluttering, particularly during the early part 
of the night. There is usually little prejudice against them, but not 
infrequently the people in the neighborhood make excuse that the 
birds are a nuisance and proceed to shoot into the flocks when they 
come to roost. — Wm. Butcher. 



m 



IN MAY 

-♦©♦■ 

IN MAY the Irish air is sweet 
With odor from the hawthorn spray. 
And birds each other blithely greet 

In May. 

Night holds but momentary sway ; 
Then vanishes with flying feet 
Before the swift approach of Day. 

Stags bellow, and the proud rams bleat, 
The shining salmon leaps in play ; 
While happy lovers often meet 

In May. 
— Norreys Jephson 0' Conor. 




^ iiBninf 



CHIMNEY SWIFT. 
% Life-size. 



OOPVRIQNT 1900, a» ». W. MUMFORD, OHICAQO 



Alabama, 1918. 31 



» 



HO FOR THE ROAD AND THE DAYS OF JUNE 

■♦^♦■ 

OVER the hills and through the plain 
The road, like a ribbon of dusty gray, 
Winds past fields of budding grain 

And meadows sweet with unmown hay ; 
Like children singing at their play 
To the tilt and laugh of a vagrant rune. 
These bands of roving gipsies stray — 
Ho for the road and the days of June ! 

The meadowlark, with soft refrain, 

Sings in the clover the livelong day, 
And the robin-lover chants again 

His unforgotten hymn of May; 

Against the turquoise sky a spray 
Of appleblossoms shines at noon. 

Breathing scent too sweet to stay — 
Ho for the road and the days of June ! 

The rover builds his castles in Spain 

For none may tell the dreamer nay. 
Through shadow, sun, or summer rain 

His heart still beats to the gipsy lay. 

Oh, Prince of Poverty, show us the way 
To find and follow the magic tune ; 

Give us the charm and teach us to say 
Ho for the road and the days in June ! 



% 



32 



Bird Day Book 



MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT 

w^jj w 

A WELL-KNOWN species is the Maryland yellow-throat, which 
frequents bushes and tangles along streams and swamps, and 
is constantly on the move, giving voice to its continually repeated 
song of "wichity, wichity, witchity, witch." In coloration they 
are olive-greenish above, and beneath, at least partly, sometimes 
wholly, yellow ; the forehead and a portion of the sides of the head 
is black. It builds a bulky nest on or near the ground, generally in 
a dense tussock of grass, and lays from three to five white, thinly 
spotted eggs. The Florida yellow-throat is similar but slightly 
darker and longer-tailed than the Maryland yellow-throat ; it occurs 
in the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast districts. Somewhat larger 
and with the lower parts more extensively yellow is the otherwise 
similar Northern yellow-throat. 



m 



THE MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT 

-♦®*- 

WHILE May bedecks the naked trees 
With tassels and embroideries. 
And many blue-eyed violets beam 
Along the edges of the stream, 
I hear a voice that seems to say. 
Now near at head, now far away, 

"Witchery — witchery — witcher." 



An incantation so serene. 
So innocent, befits the scene; 
There's magic in that small bird's note- 
See, there he flits — the yellow-throat; 
A living sunbeam, tipped with wings, 
A spark of light that shines and sings 
"Witchery — witchery — witcher." 
— Henry Van Dyke. 



Alabama, ipi8. 33 

THE MARCHING LEGIONS 

SUMMER is on her way, 
July has come and gone; 
No one remembers May, 
August is marching on ; 
Softly the South wind blows. 
Yet, but a dream and then 
Deep in the drifting snows 
We shall be cast again. 

Where are the songs of Spring 

Sung from the April larch? 
Where is the roistering 

Of the winds of March ? 
Where is the light of June 

Crowning her crimson throne? 
Gone as a passing tune. 

Mad youth is on its way, 

Childhood has come and gone ; 
Dim is the distant day 

Boyhood was marching on; 
Life now is lilting rhyme, 

Yet, but a step and then 
Gray with the snow of time 

Life turns to prose again. 

Where are the songs of Youth 

Sung where the breakers foam? 
Where is the old time truth 

Taught at the hearth of home? 
Where are the loves we've known 

In the red deeps of June ? , 

Gone as a breath is blown — ! 

Gone as a passing tune. j 

— Grantland Rice. \ 



34 '_ Bird Day Book 

CHIMNEY SWIFT 

Why ever on the wing, or perch'd elate? 
— Because I fell not from my first estate ; 
This is my charter for the boundless skies, 
"Stoop not to earth, on pain no more to rise." 

UNUSED chimneys of old dwellings make favorite roosting and 
nesting places for these smoke-colored birds. They originally 
lived in hollow trees until the advent of man furnished more con- 
venient places. Spines on the end of each tail feather enable them 
to hang to their upright walls, and slowly to hitch their way to the 
outer world. Throughout the day numbers of them are scouring 
the air for their fare of insects, but as night approaches they return 
to the chimney. The note is a continuous and not unmusical twit- 
tering uttered while on the wing and also within the depths of the 
chimney. The nest is made of small sticks or twigs glued to the 
sides of a chimney and each other by the birds' saliva. The three 
to five white eggs are long and narrow. 



m 



SCARLET TANAGER 

♦©♦■ 

THE scarlet tanager is scarlet entirely, except the wings and tail ; 
the female is greenish-yellow and blackish. These beautiful 
birds are found in open woods, but they often come out in fields, 
parks, orchards and in yards when feeding. Besides berries and 
seeds, they live upon quantities of insects, frequently catching them 
on the wing in true flycatcher style. The song resembles that of 
the robin, but is harsher, less varied and higher pitched. They 
make their nests loosely of twigs and rootlets, on lower branches 
of trees; the eggs are four in number, and are pale bluish-green, 
spotted with brown. 



I 




w 
o 
< 

si 

" at 

Hi 

S3 

< 



XI 



J' 



I 



•P 






Alabama, ipi8. 35 

THE SCARLET TANAGER 

■♦^♦■ 

WHY seems the world so fair today? 
I sought the magic wood, 
Where stately trees in fresh array 
And silent beauty stood. 

And lo ! within a dim, green bower 

A brilliant blossom hung. 
But, suddenly, my scarlet flower 

Jet wings to the breezes flung! 

To his olive mate he called, "Ship-chur !" 

And he sang to her, hidden away. 
The robin-like song of the tanager, 

A rhythmical roundelay. 

—A. B. B. 

4^ A 4X 
TO A RED BIRD 

THOU merry-hearted sorcerer of song ! 
Why hide there in the summer of the tree ? 
Come down, and let me bind you with the throng 
Of poppies proud, surcharged with envying thee. 
Oh ! would that I, like you, could rise and float. 
Bestirred with glowing cinders haply thrown 
Into your singing. Is your ruddy note 
A spark old Vulcan, cursing, died to own? 
Or did a ruby, crazed with long unrest. 
Escape from crown and king for you? Why start, — 
Ah ! did you think the secret never guessed 
Till now, so rapturous living in your heart. 
Could fall my own, forsooth, and be for long 
Untold, when I kneel only to your song? 

Kate Slaughter McKinney. 



I 



36 Bird Day Book 

WINGS AND NO WINGS 

(Mother's Story) 

Introduction 

tfpvO YOU like Maisie, Agatha?" asked Mrs. Drew of her little 
1--^ girl just home from school one afternoon. "You used to 
walk home with Katie Fay, but now you seem always to wish to be 
with Maisie, and Katie comes home alone." 

"O mother, I'm just crazy about her !" declared Agatha. "She's 
so interesting! She's been to so many places, and she knows how 
to do such a lot of things! Tomorrow noon she has promised to 
teach me a new dance she learned in town, and she told me all about 
a picture show coming home this afternoon. It was terribly excit- 
ing I I wish I could go sometimes !" 

Mrs. Drew opened her lips quickly as if to speak, then thought 
better of it, and said nothing for a moment or so. Finally she 
remarked : "You haven't known her very long, have you ?" 

"No, mother, but she is so much fun, and I do get awfully tired 
of trying to be just perfect, and speak just so, and get every lesson 
exactly right, like Katie. Maisie is more comfortable than Katie, 
and we get along well enough at school without being so particu- 
lar." 

Agatha spoke in a rather petulant and defensive tone. She 
felt that neither she nor Maisie had her mother's approval, and she 
was not really happy about it. 

But her mother was a wise woman. "Come, sit down here 
beside me, little-girl-who-doesn't-see-straight," she said, with a 
smile. "I will treat you as if I were an ancient philosopher and 
you were my disciple. I will tell you a story, and it is called 'Wings 
and No Wings.' " 

I. Wings. 

"Away up among the thick branches of the big maple tree in 
the lane was once the cozy home of a gray squirrel family. Five 
babies there were, all lively and active, finding the summer days 
almost too short for their merry business of frolicking and of learn- 
ing all the wise squirrel ways of their father and mother. Some- 



Alabama, ipi8. 



37 



times the friskiest one would start a game of tag. Immediately all 
five would be whisking up and down the trees, jumping from branch 
to branch, darting over the grass as light as thistledown. Again, 
the two biggest brothers would have a mock quarrel, chasing each 
other and scolding noisily — 'Chip, chip, chip, chip !' — until they tired 
of that and went to gathering beechnuts or acorns. 

"They were all inquisitive, as squirrels are apt to be, and very 
much interested in other people's affairs. They liked to tease, too, 
now and then, though, on the whole, the five were good friends with 
nearly every one. They had many neighbors in the lane and in the 
fields and woods beyond. In their own tree there was a bluejay 
family, while in a hollow at the foot some rabbits had their home. 
Woodpeckers, bluebirds, and thrushes were all about. Over in the 
field meadow larks built their nests, and many other furry creatures 
besides themselves lived near by. 

"The youngest squirrel, however, had a great and curious 
admiration for his bird neighbors. He would leave the j oiliest game 
of tag to talk to the bluejay or the robin, and he never tired of 
asking questions about wings and flying. 'How does it feel to go so 
fast and far through the air ?' he asked the robin one morning. 'Do 
you never fall or forget how to do it ?' 

" 'Goodness, no!' answered the robin. 'It's just as easy as eat- 
ing cherries. Why, if you had any wings to spread, you could fly ! 
You do pretty well, anyway, for a four-legged creature, with that 
tail of yours. It's almost feathery, indeed!' 

"The squirrel was very much pleased at this. He made up his 
mind that he would jump just as far as he could. Really, once, 
when the wind was helping him, he made a longer leap than his 
biggest brother ever had dared. Still, it was not flying, and the 
youngest squirrel was not satisfied. 

"One day he interviewed a swallow, who had a nest under the 
eaves of a barn. 'O, it is the finest thing in the world!' cried the 
swallow. 'There is nothing so delightful as flying ! It is no wonder 
that even a squirrel should wish to do it. Perhaps, since you are 
small and light, if you spread your legs out as flat as possible, you 
might do better. They would be a little like wings. But you really 
need feathers,' she concluded ; 'feathers were made for flying.' 

"The little squirrel thanked her and tried faithfully to follow 
her suggestion. He found that it did indeed help. 'Surely,' he 
thought, 'with practice I can make a flying leap from our tree to 



38 Bird Day Book 

the oak away over there — farther than any squirrel has ever tried 
to leap.' 

"The rest of the family teased him dreadfully. 

" 'Do !' cried one of his brothers. 'He is so little and good-for- 
nothing he thinks the wind will blow him along !" 

"His mother fretted over his daring attempts and scolded him, 
though to no purpose. 'You will certainly be killed !' she told him. 
'Stop copying those silly birds ! Play with your own kind and help 
gather acorns for the winter ! There will be few birds to play with 
then, and fur is better than feathers for cold weather.' 

"The little squirrel did help with the acorns, but he would not 
stop trying to fly. He loved the birds, and he spent so much time 
with them that he grew happier and more joyous than before. He 
loved to listen to the robin's evening song, and when the cardinal 
and the oriole made the lane ring with their clear whistled notes he 
thought of many lovely things and was glad to live in such a beauti- 
ful world. 

"All the birds were fond of him. They helped and encouraged 
him always, and when the bluebird left with the others for the 
South he said to the youngest squirrel: 'Who tries his best to fly 
may find his wings, little friend !' 

"The squirrel thought of that often during the long winter and 
never ceased to try. By and by he felt that he was improving a 
good deal. At last, one day in early March, he made a wonderful 
leap from the old maple and landed quite easily on the distant oak. 
How delightful it was ! He was so happy he wished he could sing, 
and then, to his great surprise, he heard from the fence along the 
lane the lovely spring song of his friend, the bluebird. He made 
another splendid leap and reached the fence-rail to welcome the 
returning traveler. 

" 'O little squirrel !' cried the bluebird. 'What did I tell you ? 
You have tried your best, and you have found your wings !' 

"It was true, for the squirrel learned in that second leap what 
had helped him to fly, if not quite like a bird, at least as no other 
squirrel had dared to hope. Between his body and his strong little 
legs the skin had grown in wide, loose folds, and when he flattened 
himself for a leap they really made a sort of wings. 

"What a joyful little squirrel he was ! He never tired or trying 
his new-found power, and when he chose a little gray mate, and 



Alabama, 1918. 39 

they had five baby squirrels to care for, he taught them all to fly as 
he did. 

"Ever since then that branch of the squirrel family has been 
known as 'flying squirrels,' because one little gray squirrel longed 
with all his heart to be like his swift-winged soaring neighbor." 

II. No Wings 

" 'Don't be afraid,' said Mother Brown Bird to her five timid 
nestlings huddled together on the oak-tree branch. 'Spread your 
wings just as I do, and they will carry you safe to this lower bough. 
It is only a little way. See how easy it is !' And she flew up beside 
them, and then down again, while Father Brown Bird darted back 
and forth, calling encouragingly and sometimes impatiently. 

" 'It looks so delightful !' sighed one little bird. 'But how ter- 
rible it would be to fall down on the hard ground ! Why, we might 
be killed!' 

" 'Who cares for a fall ?' chirped the boldest and most reckless 
one. 'I am sure I can reach that branch, and I shall not wait any 
longer. I want to fly !' So he spread his wings and plunged off. 

"The others twittered in alarm, but their reckless brother landed 
quite safe and triumphant beside Mother Brown Bird, much praised 
by his parents, though a trifle breathless and dizzy. 

"Two of the others who had been balancing and fluttering their 
wings now followed him. One was unlucky and fell to the ground 
beneath, but father and mother bird flew quickly to him and with 
many encouraging words persuaded him to try again. Soon he was 
up in the tree again, quite proud because he had learned to fly up 
as well as down. 

"Even the timid little sister took courage after that and was 
surprised to find the air like friendly arms under her outspread 
wings. 

"Left upon the home branch by the nest was just one brown 
birdling. Mother and father bird called and coaxed, brothers and 
sisters dared longer and longer flights, but he would not make an 
effort. 'I do not want to fly.' he declared. 'I am afraid of the air. 
I like this branch, and it is too dangerous to trust to feeble wings.' 

"At last, when Mother Brown Bird was quite out of patience, 
she flew up and gave her stubborn son a push which sent him from 
his perch. She hoped he would spread his wings to keep himself 



40 



Bird Day Book 



from falling and find out how easily they would bear him up, as 
many a fearful baby bird has done. This foolish fellow, however, 
would not try at all and fell plump into the grass below. His 
anxious parents flew about, both scolding and coaxing, but it was 
useless ; their obstinate nestling refused to move. 'No, I do not want 
to fly,' he said. 'I do not want to be up high for fear I may fall 
again. It is safe and comfortable in this soft grass. I mean to 
stay here. My two legs are better than wings.' 

"So, since they could do nothing more, the other birds left him 
and spent the summer day singing in the trees, trying their young 
wings, or seeking for food in the pleasant woodland. 

"The little brown bird hopped about, thinking how safe he was 
and how sensible to stay upon the solid earth. He was rather lonely, 
for the ground-folk were too busy to pay any attention to him, and 
his kindred of the air were high above him. There was plenty to 
eat and drink, however. He found many insects in the grass and 
even a few ripe berries, while a tiny rill was not far away. Once 
he was terribly frightened. There was a sudden sharp yelping close 
at hand, a sound of something running nearer and nearer, and then 
a boy and a dog raced past him in pursuit of a frightened rabbit. 
The little brown bird half raised his untried wings, and a fleeting 
thought of the safety of far treetops came to him, but he hid himself 
under a thick bush until all was quiet again. Another time he left 
the shelter of the wood to wander in a sunny meadow. He was 
quite happy there until he happened to see a dark shape soaring 
above and remembered what his mother had said in the nest about 
hawks. Trembling with fear, he crept under the edge of a big rock 
and kept as still as the rock itself until the hovering shadow was 
gone. When evening came, he did not know what to do. He felt 
pretty lonesome, too, but he found a thicket of close-growing bushes 
and snuggled as far in among them as he could to keep out of the 
way of hungry owls or other enemies. 

"I cannot tell you all his adventures, but the summer passed day 
by day, while the little brown bird learned to live as the other ground 
people did. 

"When autumn came, the other birds flew away to warmer cli- 
mates, while he, who had no power of airy flight, stayed to learn 
the dangers and hardships of winter. It was difficult to keep alive 
then, but at last spring came, and summer followed — ^then other 
springs and other summers. Sometimes when he heard the sweet 



1^ 



Alabama, ipi8. 41- 

songs of other birds in the treetops he wished to sing too. But in 
some strange way the song he felt he could have sung seemed to 
belong with soaring wings, with swaying boughs, with whispering 
green leaves, and he could not imitate their liquid notes. Sometimes 
when he saw the lark soar into the far blue sky he felt a stir of long- 
ing for something beautiful he had missed. But he contented him- 
self among the slower folk upon the ground, and when one day he 
came upon a quiet little gray bird whose wing was too crippled ever 
to bear her aloft again, he persuaded her to help him build a nest in 
a sheltered hollow. Soon they were very busy providing for a 
brood of little birds. None of their children ever thought of flying ; 
they used their wings only to help them run or to beat off an enemy. 
So at last the wonderful heritage of flight and song disappeared. 
All the descendants of the little brown bird who would not use his 
wings had their dwelling upon the ground, and their only song was 
a chirp or a twitter — never the sweet, joyous carol of the sky 
lovers." 

"The tale is done, O little disciple," said Mrs. Drew with a 
kiss. "Now put on your hat and weed your beloved pansy bed while 
you think it over. Before you go to bed maybe we'll have a little 
talk about it." 

Agatha said nothing at all, but she kissed her mother and went 
off to the pansy bed with a very thoughtful face. — Bdith Childs 
Battle. 




42 



Bird Day Book 



MOCKINGBIRD 

-♦^♦- 

THE general colors of the mockingbird are gray and white; the 
bases of the primaries and outer tail feathers are white. The 
nest of these birds is variously situated, in small trees, brush heaps, 
briers, etc. The nesting material consists of twigs, plant stems, 
grasses, strings, strips of bark, feathers, and pieces of paper. The 
eggs have a pale greenish blue ground-color, and are rather heavily 
colored with reddish brown spots. Four is the number generally 
laid in a nest. The one profession of the male in spring is singing, 
and so completely does this engross his mind that to his mate is left 
the entire responsibility of constructing their habitation and hatching 
the eggs. The bird's appetite for fruit and berries in some com- 
munities becomes at times so marked that many fruit growers com- 
plain of their depredations, while others plant more fruit in order to 
provide enough for both man and bird. 

The mockingbird is an insectivorous bird and is undoubtedly the 
sweetest songster of the North American continent, its notes of 
liquid melody eclipsing those of the world-famed nightingale. 

C^ C^ ^ 
THE LESSON TAUGHT BY THE MOCKINGBIRD 

'HEN the shadows of the evening 
Creep across the grassy wold 
Blithely singing near my dwelling 
Comes a saucy songster bold. 



w 



Gay and plaintive are the carols 
That he sings in matchless strain 

And perforce my smile enkindles 
For he sings my own refrains. 

List'ning to his mockings artless 
Deeply is this lesson taught: 

By our every act an impress 
On some other life is wrought. 
— Lillian Finnellj Tuscaloosa, Ala. 



Alabama, ipi8. 43 

CAROLINA CHICKADEE 

■♦©♦■ 

THE Carolina chickadee ranges through the southern portion of 
the United States from the Atlantic to the Rockies and north 
to the Ohio River and to some extent beyond. Its nest is built in 
hollow trees or posts, or in boxes set up for its special accommoda- 
tion. A bird of forests and groves, it is not found on treeless areas, 
and does not often alight upon the ground. From this it follows 
that its food is mostly of the kind that can be taken on trees or 
bushes, and, therefore, excludes such ground-inhabiting insects as 
ants and grasshoppers. 

The study of the food habits of the Carolina chickadee is based 
upon an examination of the contents of 210 stomachs collected in 
the Southeastern States. The food consisted of 71.94 per cent ani- 
mal matter and 28.06 per cent vegetable, the former being made up 
of insects and spiders with a few sowbugs, found in one stomach, 
and the latter of berries and several kinds of seeds. 

Beetles, being rather terrestrial in habit, escape the chickadees 
to some extent, forming only 3.67 per cent of their food. Nearly 
half of these were snout beetles, or weevils, of which practically all 
species are more or less harmful and many are pests. The preda- 
cious ground beetles apparently elude these birds completely, for not 
a trace of one was found in any of the 210 stomachs. 

A few ants were taken in the months from February to June, 
except May, but the average for the year is only 0.36 per cent. Bees 
and wasps (4.48 per cent of the food of the year) were taken 
oftener and more regularly. The month of greatest consumption 
was February, which would appear to be rather early for bees and 
wasps to be out extensively, and March stands next. 

Bugs seem to be a favorite food in the four months from April 
to July, during which the great bulk is eaten. The average for 
these months is 15.13 per cent, but for the whole year it is only 5.68 
per cent, as bugs were eaten in only three of the other eight months 
and then but sparingly. This item of food is made up of stink- 
bugs, shield bugs, leafhoppers, tree-hoppers, plant lice, and scales. 



44 Bird Day Book 

While no special pest was noted, nearly all of these are harmful and 
especially the last two, of which there are hundreds of species and 
nearly every plant has its own peculiar form. 

The real food of the Carolina chickadee consists of moths and 
caterpillars. Moths were found in only 1 stomach, their pupae in 16, 
their eggs in 30, and their larvae (caterpillars) in 138, or about two- 
thirds of those examined. The month of greatest consumption is 
October, when they amount to more than three-fourths of the food 
(78.1 per cent). The month of least consumption is December, 
when they still aggregate more than a tenth of the yearly food 
(11.74 per cent). The average for the year (44.43 per cent) is 
exceeded by cuckoos, but by few if any other birds. Chickadees 
have a habit of beating their prey to pieces on a branch of a tree 
before swallowing it, so that the stomachs contain only fragments 
not easy to identify. It is probable that in these were many notorious 
pests, for the pupae of codling moths were recognized in five stom- 
achs and the eggs that produce one of the tent caterpillars in two. 

Tike many other tree-inhabiting species, the Carolina chickadee 
eats very few grasshoppers, but some were taken irregularly through 
the year (1.04 per cent). In five months, including August, the 
grasshopper month, none were eaten at all, and but few at other 
times. So far as stomach records show no genuine grasshoppers 
were eaten, but only some of their allies in their lowest or first stage, 
viz, the egg. In 11 stomachs were found the eggs of katydids; in 
5 the egg cases of cockroaches; in 1 a grasshopper's egg; and in 
another a cricket's jaw. 

Flies are practically ignored. What were probably the eggs of 
a crane fly were found in one stomach, but no adult flies were noted. 

Spiders seem very palatable to the chickadee, being eaten every 
month and showing a higher percentage (10.9 per cent) in the 
stomachs than any other animal food except caterpillars. In five 
stomachs collected in March they amounted to 44.6 per cent, but a 
greater number of stomachs would probably modify this record. One 
stomach was practically filled with the remains of sowbugs. These 
appear to be the only animal food eaten that can not be obtained 
from a tree, shrub, or weed, and it is not clear how the chickadee 
could get them, for sowbugs are essentially terrestrial in habit and 
are usually found under a stone, clod, or mass of practically decayed 



Alabama, ipi8. 45 

vegetation. A few bones and other tissues of a small unidentified 
vertebrate taken in June complete the animal food. 

The vegetable food of the Carolina chickadee consists chiefly 
of fruit and seeds. Blackberries or raspberries, found in two stom- 
achs ; blueberries, in one ; and fruit pulp not further identified, in five, 
constitute 2.17 per cent of the food for the year. Seeds of poison 
ivy (10.07 per cent for the year) appear to be a favorite food in the 
colder months, but only the waxy coating is eaten. This is taken 
off and swallowed and the real seed rejected, so that the bird does 
not aid in the distribution of this noxious plant as do so many birds 
that swallow the seeds and afterwards either disgorge them or pass 
them through the alimentary canal to fall and germinate in a differ- 
ent locality. 

Other seeds, most of them so broken and ground up as to be 
unidentifiable, were eaten to the extent of 12.38 per cent, chiefly in 
the colder months. In nine stomachs taken during this season 
were pieces of liverwort, a plant of the lower order that grows 
upon the bark of trees or damp rocks. This seems a very curious 
food for a bird, and is probably taken when other supplies are 
scarce. 

In a resume of the food of the Carolina chickadee, one is im- 
pressed with the fact that a large proportion consists of the eggs, 
pupae, and larvae of noxious insects. As an enemy of caterpillars the 
bird has few peers. It also destroys a great many of those two 
pests of horticulture, plant lice and scales. — F. B. L. B. in Farmers' 
Bulletin. 



46 Bird Day Book 



m 



« 



I 



DOWN THE MORNING 

-♦^♦• 

'M COMING down the morning with a tale upon my tongue 
Of boundless leagues of blossom in the land where life is young. 
Coming down the morning 

With a rose to help you see 
The green lanes of the country 
Where the heart of time is free. ||l 

I greet you with a posey from the vines of old content 
Where the gifts of sunny nature to the trusting heart are sent. 
Greet you with a posey 

That the fairies saw me take 
To bring to town this morning 
For the sweltering city's sake. 

I'm coming down the morning on the first car up the line, 
To bring a song of blossoms on the honeysuckle vine. 
Coming down the morning 

With a hail, well met, to you, 
Who'll know me by the music 
That is fresh from dells of dew. 

— Baltimore Sun. 



m 



Alabama, 19 18. 4.7 



m 



THE CHICKADEE 

I AM cherry, black-capped Chickadee, 
With my head as dark as the duskiest tree ; 
I'm as gray as the boughs of the beeches bare, 
And as white as the snow that is lodging there ; 
While my sides are tinged like the willow wands, 
That rim with yellow the streams and ponds. 

As I dart about, as I swing and I sway, 
No blinding storm doth me dismay. 
For I'm borne with the flakes as they scurry 
And I gleefully sing my tiny song : 
"Chick-a-dee-dee-dee ! Chick-a-dee-dee-dee ! 
This world holds nothing but good for me." 

When insect eggs are incased in ice 

In the crystallized trunks, I fly in a trice 

To the homes of the human friends I know. 

Who have spread me a feast on the crusted snow. 

"Chick-a-dee-dee-dee ! Chick-a-dee-dee-dee ! 

Oh, wouldn't you like to make friends with me ?" 

—A. n. B. 



% 



48 



Bird Day Book 



THE WOOD TRAILS 






T^HE wood trails are free trails — they take no traveler's toll ; 
■■■ A green way, a clean way, they go by hill and hollow. 
You know their sudden summons by a hunger in your soul 

And wit to rise at break of day and follow, follow, follow. 
Your fare is berries ripe and red and wild grades brimming over, 

And crystal waters cold as snow in two palms for a cup. 
Your bed at nightfall balsam boughs with wide, star-tufted cover 

And sleep as deep as tranquil wells until the dawn comes up. 

The wood trails are fair trails — at every dip and turn 

The byways, the shy ways, are set with lovely wonder; 
The lightest question step will leave a footprint on a fern. 

The grayest gnarled and ancient oak has violets nodding under. 
And whether quick to amber brooks with beryl bubbles breaking. 

Or dim and slow through churchly pines, the little pathways go. 
There's beauty for a lifted glance and treasure for the taking, 

And certain secret old delight that only wanderers know. 



The wood trails are long trails, mysterious and sweet — 

A far way, a star way, they set a pilgrim faring ; 
And strangely, as you go the shoes are swifter on your feet, 

The old-time burden on your back is lighter for the bearing ; 
While here a bough is blossoming and there a bush is burning, 

And every hour's a singing bird for every mile you roam . . . 
And best of all — most blest of all — with never backward turning 

The wood trails, the good trails, they lead your spirit home! 

— Nancy Byrd Turner. 



Alabama, igi8. 49 

SCREECH OWL 

'Bhvs,-tYtD, Strange-voiced, sharp-beak'd, ill-omen'd fowl, 
What art thou ? 

— What I ought to be, an owl ; 
But if I'm such a scarecrow in your eye, 
You're a much greater fright in mine ; — good-by ! 

f ENGTH, about 8 inches. Our smallest owl with ear tufts. There 
•'— * are two distinct phases of plumage, one grayish and the other 
bright rufous. Range: Resident throughout the United States, 
southern Canada, and northern Mexico. 

Habits and economic status : The little screech owl inhabits 
orchards, groves, and thickets, and hunts for its prey in such places 
as well as along hedge-rows and in the open. During warm spells 
in winter it forages quite extensively and stores up in some hollow 
tree considerable quantities of food for use during inclement weather. 
Such larders frequently contain enough mice or other prey to bridge 
over a period of a week or more. With the exception of the burrow- 
ing owl it is probably the most insectivorous of the nocturnal birds 
of prey. It feeds also upon small mammals, birds, reptiles, batra- 
chians, fish, spiders, crawfish, scorpions, and earthworms. Grass- 
hoppers, crickets, ground-dwelling beetles, and caterpillars are its 
favorites among insects, as are field mice among mammals and spar- 
rows among birds. Out of 324 stomachs examined, 169 were found 
to contain insects ; 142, small mammals ; 56, birds ; and 15, craw- 
fish. The screech owl should be encouraged to stay near barns and 
outhouses, as it will keep in check house mice and wood mice, which 
frequent such places. — Biological Survey Bulletin. 



50 



Bird Day Book 



I 



TO A GRACIOUS SUMMER 



-♦^^ 



THE winds of summer never are so sweet 
As when after a shower, calm and pure, 
The slumbering south breaths on the tender tnoor 
A soft caressing guile of nurtured heat. 
Who then would journey field ward, to his feet — 
Sensations new are born and the strong lure 
Of Fancy wakes one who would long endure : 
In memoried hope to the heart's last fond beat ! 
Oh, pleasant then when happy days admit, 

To lend a listening ear and softly feel 
Zephyr abroad in whispering harmonies. 
Then — then to lie me down or musing sit 
A wise philosopher of passing time — to steal 
Homeward at eve in brimful ecstasies ! 

— Robert Page Lincoln. 



^ 



THE OWL 



OH, MIGHTY king of wondrous sight, 
On noiseless wing, you sweep through night; 
Your fierceness reigns, you hold your power 
In dark domains till morning hour. 
Bold eagle may be king of day. 
But you by right are king of night. 

—A. C. Webb. 



Alabama, igi8. 51 

AUGUST NIGHT 

>©♦ 

THE grasses are alive tonight with song 
That busy insects of the summer dusk 
Through all the breathing countryside prolong ; 
The air is laden with the harvest-musk. 
Above the western gable hangs a glow 
Of silver beauty in the turquoise sky 
And there the moon has bent her silver bow, '. 
And all the dreams of ancient powers go by — 
The orient trembles in a mist of moon 
And hidden cities swing into the loom 
Of woven magic purple lilies bloom 
On tall stalks bending to an alien breeze. 
And yonder come strange sails from foreign seas, 
Triremes of Greece, and those feluccas blown 
By Naples in the fairy-dreams of time 
On wondrous oceans men have never known 
Except in breathings of pellucid rhyme 
The stars are not so brilliant, but they shape, 
And through dim spaces hung with mists of gray 
The visages of nymphs and satyrs gape 
It is a magic moment of the earth, 
When lovers pray, and priests on towers of prayer 
Call to the gods of mystery and of mirth, 
And scatter incense through the holy air 
The cricket and the katydid make sweet 
The closer spaces, and in dim woods there 
Late whippoorwills their mournful call repeat, 
A Bob White choirs, the mocking-bird replies. 
The brooding light grows softer in the skies. 
The river gurgles oars beyond us sweep. 
Out of the night look down a thousand eyes — 
For one could waste such lovely hours in sleep ! 

— Folger McKinsey. 



52 Bird Day Book 



LONGINGS 

>©♦ 

COULD I but return to my woods once more, 
And dwell in their depths as I have dwelt, 
Kneel in their mosses as I have knelt. 
Sit where the cool white rivers run 
Away from the world and half hid from the sun, 

Hear wind in the woods of my storm-torn shore. 
Glad to the heart with listening, — 
It seems to me that I then could sing. 
And sing as I never have sung before. 

O God ! once more in my life to hear 
The voice of a wood that is loud and alive. 
That stirs with its being like a vast beehive ! 
And oh, once more in my life to see 

The great bright eyes of the antlered deer ; 
To sing with the birds that sing for me, 
To tread where only the red man trod, 
To say no word, but listen to God. 

4^ A A 
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET 

KINGLETS are dainty little birds between three and four inches 
long, with soft lax plumage, which in color is plain olive-green 
above, the wings with two narrow white bands, and dull whitish 
tinged with olive or dull yellowish below. The male has crown of 
orange and yellow, bordered with black, and the female, of yellow. 
They go about in parties, seeking their food of insects among the 
branches of trees and shrubbery. The nest of the kinglet is an 
exquisite example of bird architecture, being a large, round struc- 
ture made of green moss, strips of bark, and fine rootlets, thickly 
lined with soft feathers. The eggs, numbering from five to ten, are 
dull whitish or grayish, finely speckled or sprinkled with brown or 
lilac; when the larger number of eggs is present, they are usually 
found in two layers, the nest being otherwise too small to hold 
them. 




RED-HEADED WOODPECKER. 
Life-size. 



OOPYH.OHT 1100. •» .. w- MOHfOBO. OMlCAaO 



Alabama, ipi8. 53 

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER 

-♦■©♦ 

THIS very handsome species is common and very well known. 
The adults have the entire head and breast red ; while the young 
have gray heads and back, streaked with darker. They are the ruf- 
fians of the woodpecker family, very noisy and quarrelsome. One 
of their worst traits is the devouring of the eggs and young of other 
birds. To offset this, partially, they eat insects and grubs and a 
great deal of fruit. Their note is a loud, whining "charr," "charr," 
besides numerous other calls and imitations. In May and June 
they lay four to six glossy white eggs in holes in trees in woods, 
orchards or along roadsides, and also in fence posts and telegraph 
poles. 

^ ^ C^ 
THE WOODPECKER 

WHO dat knockin' on my cabin do' 
Dis mo'nin' at break o' day? 
Who dat callin' "You lazy Jim, 

You better git up and make yo' hay 
An' clean yo' cotton row." 

Who dat ringin' his breakfus' bell 
On de roof whar de white folks stay ? 

Who call dem chil'en to jump in deir clo's 
An' wash deir face' an' hurry away 

To whar de school ma'am dwell? 

Who dat hammerin' on de sycamo' lim', 
As de chil'en come trampin' through 

On de road to school 'long de bypath way 
A urgin' dem on to do deir do 

An' den come hunt f er him ? 

—A. C. Webb. 



»:» 



54 Bird Day Book 



m 



THE BIRD THAT FED AT THE PANE 

To a yellow-throated vireo found dead under my window after a 

freeze. 

•♦^♦• 

HE WAS so like a poem 
A wind-song sudden brings. 
And like a splash of sunshine 
Shone the light between his wings. 
He came like a bright message, 
As such he passed away, 
And I miss my flower of sunlight 
From my window pane today. 

The twig whereon he rested 
Is frozen, so the rain, 
The crumbs are yet untasted 
Outside the window pane. 
A lonely heart is watching 
For the flying joy today; 
But it comes not — for the singer 
And his song have passed away. 

— Kate Slaughter McKinney. 
January, i8pp. 



m 



Alabama, ipi8. 55 



m 



COMMON CROW 

■♦^♦- 

LENGTH, 19 inches. Range: Breeds throughout the United 
States and most of Canada; winters generally in the United 
States. Habits and economic status: The general habits of the 
crow are universally known. Its ability to commit such misdeeds as 
pulling corn and stealing eggs and fruit and to get away unscathed 
is little short of marvelous. Much of the crow's success in life is 
due to cooperation, and the social instinct of the species has its 
highest expression in the winter roosts, which are sometimes fre- 
quented by hundreds of thousands of crows. From these roosts 
daily flights of many miles are made in search of food. Injury to 
sprouting corn is the most frequent complaint against this species,, 
but by coating the seed grain with coal tar most of this damage 
may be prevented. Losses of poultry and eggs may be averted by 
proper housing and the judicious use of wire netting. The insect 
food of the crow includes wireworms, cutworms, white grubs, and 
grasshoppers, and during outbreaks of these insects the crow ren- 
ders good service. The bird is also an efficient scavenger. But 
chiefly because of its destruction of beneficial wild birds and their 
eggs the crow must be classed as a criminal, and a reduction in its 
numbers in localities where it is seriously destructive is justifiable. 
— Farmers' Bulletin. 



m 



56 



Bird Day Book 



IN DREAMS 

I HEAR as in a dream the robin's call, 
The lazy bee low droning to its lair ; 
See hollyhocks beside the garden wall, 

And creeping vines meandering everywhere. 

As in a dream I hear the brooklet sing 
Its way along the meadow where I stray 

To watch the bobolinks on airy wing 
Soar upward at the rosy dawn of day. 

I dream my way along the woodland path 
Where yesterday the Indian camp upreared; 

And later, asters like an aftermath 

Of summer blossoms, starry-eyed, appeared. 

Still dreaming, 'neath the hazy mystic veil 
Fair Indian summer spreads o'er all the land, 

I press my way along this woodland trail 
Seeking God's handiwork to understand. 

We dream our way to happiness, I wean ; 

And here beside the firelight's cheerful glow 
I live again in each familiar scene 

That made me happy in the long ago. 
— Helen M. Richardson. 



m<9 



Alabama, ipi8. 57 

THE HOURS TO COUNT 

-♦©♦■ 

IN A sweet old English garden, 
'Midst the lilies tall and fair, 
Crimson cloves and damask roses 

Breathing fragrance in the air. 
You will find a moss-grown sundial, 

And with patient care may trace 
Wisdom in the Latin motto 

Quaintly carven on its face. 
On the lichen-covered marble. 

Where the ivy tendrils twine, 
"I will number not the hours 

When the sun forgets to shine." 

To our hearts we take this wisdom, 

Garnered in the days of old, 
We will keep no recollection 

Of the moments gray and cold. 
But will treasure in remembrance 

All the happy, halcyon days, 
When the way of life was sparkling. 

And its sun was all ablaze. 
Golden light of love shall linger 

In its glory all divine, 
We will number not the hours 

When the sun forgets to shine. 

— Exchange. 



m^ 



58 



Bird Day Book 



THE SERVICES OF THE BIRD IN THE GARDEN 



-f®*- 



THE garden is the insect's paradise. It fares sumptuously every- 
day on the most succulent of vegetable foods. Every oppor- 
tunity is thus offered for its increase. The greatest insect enemy of 
the gardener is a small, dull-colored, hairless caterpillar known as 
the cut-worm, which is the larvae of a Noctuid moth. This chief of 
the brigand band of garden pests usually hides during the day 
beneath matted grass or under the loose soil along the rows of 
plants. It comes forth at dusk to feed. The bird is abroad at the 
first peep of day, and it finds the robber worm in the morning before 
it has retreated to its place of concealment. 

But the early bird has to come stealthily to the garden to catch 
the worm. Its visits are regarded by man with more than suspi- 
cion, and it is fortunate if it escapes with its life. In consequence it 
snaps up a caterpillar and is off again, leaving thousands it would 
have eaten, if unmolested, to run riot amongst the vegetables. 

Occasionally a bird more bold than its fellows will visit the 
garden in broad daylight to dig the cutworms out of their hiding 
places. Nature never having begrudged it the reward of its toil, 
the bird takes a few peas before leaving. 

The gardener notices the damage done to his peas, and next 
morning is up betimes. He sees the bird running along a row of 
peas, stopping frequently to peck at something on the ground. There 
is a loud explosion, followed by a puff of smoke. The smoke slowly 
drifts away, to disclose a bird lying dead. 

Caterpillars are not gifted with voice ; if they were, they would 
scarce forbear to cheer. 

The bird is dead. Mark the sequel. One fine morning the 
gardener issues proudly forth to cut his mammoth cabbage — the 
one with which he intends to put to utter confusion all other com- 
petitors at the local fruit and flower show. Alas for human hopes 
and the depredations of caterpillars. The cabbage is riddled like a 
colander. 

The gardener when he shot the bird forgot, if, indeed, he ever 
knew, that the ancient law forbade a muzzle to the ox that thrashed 
out the corn. — James Buckland. 



Alabama, 1918. 59 



YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT 

-¥®^ 

THE chat is one of our largest and most notable warblers. It is 
a frequenter of brushy thickets and swampy new growth and, 
while not averse to showing itself, relies more upon its voice to 
announce its presence than upon its green and yellow plumage. Not 
infrequently the chat sings during the night. The song, for song 
we must call it, is an odd jumble of chucks and whistles which is 
likely to bring to mind the quip current in the West, "Don't shoot 
the musician ; he is doing his best ;" in this same charitable spirit we 
must accept the song of the chat at the bird's own valuation, which, 
we may be sure, is not low. Its nest is a rather bulky structure of 
grasses, leaves and strips of bark and is often so conspicuously 
placed in a low bush as to cause one to wonder how it ever escapes 
the notice of marauders fond of birds' eggs and nestlings. 

The chat does no harm to agricultural interests, but on the 
contrary like most of the warbler family, lives largely on insects, 
and among them are many weevils, including the alfalfa weevil, and 
the boll weevil so destructive to cotton. — Biological Survey Bulletin. 



WOOD PEWEE 

•♦©♦■ 



IN LIFE, the pewee can best be distinguished from the larger 
phoebe with which it is often confounded, by its sad, plaintive 
"pe-ah-wee," "pee-wee," which is strikingly different from the 
brusque call of the phoebe. Pewees are also found more in high, 
dry woods where they build their little moss-covered homes on hori- 
zontal boughs at quite a height from the ground. Like the other 
flycatchers they always perch on dead twigs, where their view is as 
little obstructed as possible. The nest of the pewee is one of the 
most exquisite of bird creations, composed of plant fibres quilted 
together and ornamented with rock lichens ; it is situated at varying 
heights on horizontal limbs, preferably oak or chestnut, and some- 
times in apple trees in orchards. The eggs are creamy white, 
speckled with brown. 



60 Bird Day Book 



m 



THE WOOD PEWEE 

-♦^^ 

IN OLD deserted orchards, 
A riot of neglect, 
In solitudes of arching woods, 

By streamlets which reflect 
Long overhanging branches 

With sunshine filtering through, 
A plaintive, tender, wistful note 

May flutter down to you. 
Perchance upon some leafless bough 

Near a woodland path, you'll see 
A tiny bird of olive brown, 

The gentle wood pewee. 

Such pathos in his long-drawn note. 

You feel impelled to wait 
To comfort him ; and if you call, 

He'll answer you. His mate 
Sits on her lichen-covered nest, — 

Most exquisite, — while near 
He hovers, and he breathes to her, 

"Pe-wee! Pe-wee! Here!" 
Now far away his voice is heard, — 

From sadness never free; 
As from an over-burdened heart 

He murmurs, "Pee-a-wee." 

—A. B. B. 



m 



Alabama, ipi8. 61 

BREWER'S BLACKBIRD 

Wi;i,i/ done ! — they're noble notes, distinct and strong ; 
Yet more variety might mend the song. 
— Is there another bird that chants Hke me? 
My pipe gives all the grove variety. 

T ENGTH, 10 inches. Its glossy purplish head distinguishes it 
■*— ' from other blackbirds that do not show in flight a trough- 
shaped tail. Range : Breeds in the West, east to Texas, Kansas, and 
Minnesota, and north to southern Canada ; winters over most of the 
United States breeding range, south to Guatemala. 

Habits and economic status : Very numerous in the West and 
in fall gathers in immense flocks, especially about barnyards and cor- 
rals. During the cherry season in California Brewer's blackbird is 
much in the orchards. In one case they were seen to eat freely of 
cherries, but when a neighboring fruit raiser began to plow his 
orchard almost every blackbird in the vicinity was upon the newly 
opened ground and close at the plowman's heels in its eagerness to 
get the insects exposed by the plow. Caterpillars and pupse form 
the largest item of animal food (about 12 per cent). Many of these 
are cutworms, and cotton bollworms or corn earworms were found 
in 10 stomachs and codling-moth pupae in 11. Beetles constitute over 
11 per cent of the food. The vegetable food is practically contained 
in three items — grain, fruit, and weed seeds. Grain, mostly oats, 
amounts to 54 per cent; fruit, largely cherries, 4 per cent; and weed 
seeds, not quite 9 per cent. The grain is probably mostly wild, vol- 
lunteer or waste, so that the bird does most damage by eating fruit. 
— Biological Survey Bulletin. 



62 Bird Day Book 



COMING OF DAY 

-♦^♦- 

S LOWLY the faint purple light 
Flushes all the eastern sky, 
And the phantoms of the night 

To far-off dark regions fly. 
Darkness turns to tinted grey, 

While glad birds break forth in song. 
And slow down the eastern way 

Rosy hues are spread along. 
Soon the tiny creatures wake, 

Shaking with their songs the dew. 
And the jeweled light doth break 

On a world all fresh and new. 
Then we drink the air as wine, 

And thrill with exalted life, 
In the moments all divine 

Ere full-robed day brings its strife. 

— George Lawrence Andrews. 

A 0. ^ 
THE BLACKBIRD 

IN CLUMPS of pines and spruces tall 
The blackbirds love to congregate, 
And there they creak and squeak ; their call 

Sounds like a rusty garden-gate. 
Their tails are kite-shaped as they fly; 

You'll see, when they are on the ground. 
How knowing is each yellow eye. 
As haughtily they walk around. 
Their heads like brilliant jewels gleam 

With bronze and purple, green and blue; 
They're not so lovely as they seem. 

For nests they rob — ^black deeds they do. 

—A. B. B. 



Alabama, ipi8. 63 



% 



VALUE OF BIRDS TO LIVE STOCK 

•♦©♦ 

THE injury done to domestic animals by biting and parasitic 
insects is very great. Herds of cattle are often stampeded by 
these tormenting creatures, which carry disease and death among 
them. Another great affliction is the warble, which is a small tumor 
produced by the larva of the gadfly on the backs of cattle, and the 
constant irritation of which causes considerable depreciation in the 
value of hides, besides a lessened quantity and poorer quality of 
beef. 

Horses, sheep, and other farm animals are subject to the at- 
tacks of similar parasites and other persecuting insect foes. 

If it were not for the services the bird renders in alighting on 
animals in search of these parasites, or in catching the flies on the 
wing, or in eating them in the embryo state, man would be unable 
to keep his live stock. 

More than this, man himself would be unable to inhabit many 
places on the earth which he now cultivates, or where he carries on 
other lucrative industries. — James Buckland. 



■bK 



64 



Bird Day Book 



"THE LITTLE MEN IN GREEN" 

IN SILENCE soft they listen, 
But not for tuck of drum ; 
They wait on pleading bugle, 
But only one word, "Come !" 
And rank on rank, in billions. 
With crowded bayonets keen. 
Shall rise, implacable and sure, 
The Little Men in Green. 

They bivouac in the dooryard. 
They camp in every field ; 
They number as the star dust, 
, And might is their shield. 
A word will set them springing 
From every eager sod, 
A host no man can number, 
Invincible as God. 

They sink the potent plowshare. 
And lay the furrows wide. 
For they're Jehovah's trenches, 
And there His hosts abide. 
Can man withstand His maker? 
Shall hate its victory glean 
When Freedom's soil hath marshaled 
Her Little Men in Green? 



Put in the homely plowshare, 
Thrust deep the sturdy spade ; 
A child's weak hands, unaided. 
Shall arm a new brigade ; 
Tall grenadiers in tassels 
From Illinois' wide plain 
Shall fight for famished Poland 
And help to free Lorraine. 



Alabama, 19 18. 65 

On wind-blown Northern prairies 
The wheat shall bare its blade, 
The cotton toss its turban 
In every Southern glade ; 
And bearded oats in armies 
Shall set their lances keen, 
And all shall answer, "Coming, 
You Little Men in Green." 

The grandsire and his grandson 
Shall labor side by side ; 
The dewy dawn shall greet them, 
A star shall be their guide; 
The soil shall not be barren 
That righteous wrath has plowed, 
Nor Freedom's sod turn sullen 
Till sloth her sun becloud. 

What matter though the weakling 
Withhold his futile hand ? 
By Belgium's murdered millions, 
We'll mobilize the land ! 
'Tis God himself that arms us, 
And mortal hath not seen 
The legions that can stand against 
The Little Men in Green. 
— Bdwarrd Williston Prantz, of the 
Vigilantes. 



66 Bird Day Book 



M 



THE BLUEBIRD 

-♦®♦■ 

ON BIRD of blue, with your robe from the sky, 
And a flame in your red-brown breast, 
When the home-love burns, from the South you fly, 
To the chill of your northern nest. 
"Tru-ly,— tru-ly,— tru-ly." 

O wonderful bird with the loyal heart, 
To your home and mate you are true; 

Our own hearts leap, when the cold March days 
Bring the first glad sight of you, 
"Tru-ly,— tru-ly,— tru-ly." 

O beautiful bird with the tender note 

You sing of the days to be; 
You promise bright skies and an earth renewed, 
And we wait expectantly. 

"Tru-ly,— tru-ly,— tru-ly." 

—A. B. B. 



S 



Alabama, ipi8. 67 

BLUEBIRD 

-♦^♦- 

THE bluebird is a veritable harbinger of spring and messenger of 
good cheer; the "blue of the sky is upon his back and on his 
breast the tints of its rosy dawn." As soon as weather conditions 
permit, they set about house building, and after the inspection of all 
available sites select a nesting box, a hole in a tree, a hollow post, 
and upon a scant lining of soft grasses deposit from four to six pale 
blue, rarely white, unspotted eggs. During the summer bluebirds 
feed almost exclusively upon insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, 
moths and spiders, often flying to the ground for their capture. 
The call is a short sweet warble, and the song a continued warbling. 

"Typical of all that is pleasing in bird life generally, the blue- 
bird is especially cherished wherever it is found, and on esthetic 
grounds alone is carefully protected. It ranges in the breeding 
season throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, 
and remains in winter as far north as the southern parts of Illinois 
and Pennsylvania. It is one of the most domestic of our wild feath- 
ered friends and readily takes possession of the box erected for its 
accommodation where it can be safe from cats and other prowlers, or 
utiHzes crannies of farm buildings for its nest; its original homes, 
however, were in such places as deserted woodpecker-holes or cavi- 
ties in old stumps. These birds are usually abundant wherever found 
and their numbers are maintained by the rearing of two and fre- 
quently three broods a year, with from four to six young in each. 
The food supply for such large families may well concern the 
farmer, and he will be interested to learn what these birds relish 
most. 

"In the animal food the largest portion is made up of orthop- 
terous insects (grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids), totaling 20.53 
per cent for the year. Most insects of this group are harmful and at 
times very destructive. Second in importance in the diet are beetles 
(18.79 per cent), made up in part of useful ground beetles (10.38 
per cent of the total food), but in this item also are May beetles 
(3.9 per cent), weevils, or snout beetles (1.13 per cent), and mis- 
cellaneous related forms (3.38 per cent). The useful beetles are 
sometimes eaten in such numbers as to detract from the esteem in 



68 



Bird Day Book 



which the bluebird is held, the month of May, for instance, charging 
them against the bird to the extent of 36.61 per cent of the food, and 
every month recording them in such quantities as to indicate that 
they are very palatable to the bluebird. Few birds exceed this 
record of destruction of useful beetles, but it must be remembered 
that for the year they form only about one-tenth of the food, and 
that the remaining food shows that insects as a whole are attacked 
so impartially that the balance of nature is not disturbed, and while 
one kind of insect life is not exterminated another is not allowed to 
become superabundant ; grasshoppers, for instance, enter the food of 
the bluebird about in proportion to their abundance. 

"The group third in order of importance in the animal food 
contains the many forms of caterpillars, including a few moths (9.59 
per cent). Chief among these are the owlet moths, the larvae of 
which are the well-known cutworms, but there are also included 
hairy caterpillars and the "yellow bear." The rest of the animal 
food is made up of flying insects, as wasps, bees, and flies, in small 
quantities, for the bird is not very active on the wing; of ants and 
bugs, among which later stinkbugs predominate; remains of chinch 
bugs, detected in one stomach; a few spiders (2.47 per cent) ; still 
fewer myriapods, or thousand-legs (1.23 per cent) ; a mere trace of 
sowbugs and snails ; and a few bones of lizards and tree frogs. 

"The vegetable food consists largely of fruit obtained from 
pastures, swamps, and hedgerows, rather than from gardens and 
orchards. Practically all the domestic fruit taken was secured in 
June and November, and the only cultivated species identified were 
cherries and raspberries or blackberries. In December, wild fruit 
forms two-thirds of the monthly food, but this item decreases grad- 
ually each month, and in May no fruit of any kind is taken. The 
yearly average is about a third of the total food. As fruit is taken 
chiefly in winter, it follows that it is eaten to tide the bird over until 
insects are again abundant, partly taking the place of Seeds in the 
winter diet of birds in general, though seeds, too, are occasionally 
and sparingly eaten by the bluebird. Among them are seeds of 
sumac of both harmless and poisonous kinds, bayberry, and a little 
indeterminate vegetable refuse and rubbish, together averaging 7.21 
per cent of the yearly food. 

"The bluebird has never been accused, in the writer's knowl- 
edge, of objectionable habits, and cultivated crops are not only safe 
from its attacks, but are benefited by its ridding them of an over- 



Alabama, ipi8. 69 

abundance of harmful insects. In spring and early summer, when 
berries and small fruits are at their best, the bird subsists upon in- 
sects to the extent of five-sixths of its food. Its fruit-eating period 
is from late fall to early spring, when insects are scarce and waste 
fruit available. The point that has been urged against the bird, its 
destruction of predacious beetles, is a harmful trait more apparent 
than real, inasmuch as its record on all other lines is absolutely in 
its favor. Field observation and laboratory analysis of the food fully 
justify the high esteem in which the bird is held, and there is not 
the slightest excuse for persecuting it or withdrawing from it the 
smallest degree of protection." — F. B. L. B. in Farmers' Bulletin. 



THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS 

THE night comes on apace. The rain. 
The warm, still rain, falls soft again. 
I feel the breath of growing things ; 
I seem to hear the whir of wings 
Of countless birds, just marshaHng 
Their ranks for long, long journeying. 

The songsters bold that fly by day, 
Near gleaming waters wing their way. 
Their timid fellows shun the light — 
God guides them through the dusky night, 
But every heart holds home-love strong 
Enough to brave the distance long. 

—A. E. B. 



70 Bird Day Book 

THE BLUEBIRD 

■*^^ 

I AM so blithe and glad today ! 
At morn I heard a bluebird sing; 
The bluebird, warbling soul of spring, 
The prophet of the leafy May, — 
And I knew the violets under the tree 
Would listen and look the birds to see, 
Peeping timidly, here and there, 
In purple and odor to charm the air; 
And the wind-flower lift its rose-veined cup. 
In the leaves of the old year buried up; 
And all the delicate buds that bloom 
On the moss-beds, deep in the forest gloom, 
Would stir in their slumber, and catch the strain 
And dream of the sun and the April rain, — 
For spring has come when the bluebird sings, 
And folds in the maple his glossy wings. 
And the wind may blow, and the storm may fall. 
But the voice of summer is heard in all. 

I am so blithe and glad today ! 
My heart, beside the bluebird, sings. 
And folds serene its weary wings. 
And knows the hours lead on to May. 

— Edna Dean Proctor. 



ms 



I 



Alabama, ipi8. 



71 



PAINTED BUNTING 

THE male painted bunting is one of the most brilliantly colored 
birds of the United States. The upper part of the head and 
neck are shining purplish violet, the middle of the back yellowish 




PAINTED BUNTING, LENGTH, ABOUT 5% INCHES 

green, wings and tail purplish blue, and underparts and rump ver- 
milion. The female is dark green above and yellowish beneath. 

This little jewel has not failed to attract popular attention and 
in consequence has received a variety of common names. In Louis- 



72 Bird Day Book 

iana the French speaking people have called it nonpareil (un- 
equaled), and le pape (the pope). The last name has been con- 
tracted to pop and varied as red pop. Spanish speaking citizens 
know the bird as mariposa (butterfly), and in English the bird has 
been variously named painted bunting or finch, paradise finch, Mexi- 
can canary, and Texas canary. ^ 

The painted bunting- i§ 'fi6't only distinguished in appearance, but 
also is one of the most pleasing songsters among the finches. It is a 
persistent vocalist, and this characteristic, in addition to its beauty 
and activity, makes it a most desirable species for the vicinity of 
homes. Fortunately the bird is not averse to proximity to man, and 
its preference for shrubbery further adapts it to living about door- 
yards and gardens. The nest, though usually placed low, is well 
concealed, and the eggs number three to five. 

Few complaints have been lodged against the painted bunting 
on the score of its food habits. It is said to eat rice at times, to peck 
into figs and grapes, and to bite oflF the tips of pecan shoots. In 
no case that has come to notice, however, has it been charged with 
doing serious damage. Certainly no such charge is supported by 
the investigations of the Biological Survey, for no product of hus- 
bandry has thus far been found in any of the stomachs, 80 of which 
have been examined, all collected in Texas in July, August, and 
September. Averages for the July and August material only are 
here presented. Animal matter composed 20.86 per cent of the 
contents of these stomachs, and vegetable matter 79.14 per cent. 
Of the former, 2.48 per cent was made up of weevils, mostly cotton 
boll weevils. All insects of this group are destructive, but none 
more so than the notorious cotton boll weevil, and this species had 
been eaten by 18 of the 80 nonpareils examined. 

Another enemy of the cotton crop attacked by these brightly 
colored little birds is the cotton worm. This insect was preyed 
upon to the extent of 3.14 per cent of the total food of the 80 painted 
buntings examined. Other insects eaten included grasshoppers, 
crickets, click beetles, leaf beetles, caterpillars, true bugs, and small 
hymenopterans. A few spiders and one snail also were taken. 

The vegetable food is remarkable in consisting very largely of 
a single item — the seeds of foxtail 6r pigeon grass. This is one of 



Alabama, 1918. 73 

the worst weeds in the United States. The 80 painted buntings 
made over two-thirds (precisely 67.03 per cent) of their total food 
of its seeds. The seeds of other grasses composed 5.88 per cent of 
the food, grasses alone thus furnishing over nine-tenths of the vege- 
table portion. The other vegetable matter eaten consists largely of 
seeds of such weeds as amaranth, mallow, sorrel, and nail grass. 

To sum up, practically all of the vegetable food of the painted 
bunting is of weed seeds, two-thirds of it being the seeds of foxtail 
grass, one of the worst weed pests. The animal food also is com- 
posed almost exclusively of injurious species, more than a fourth of 
it consisting of the two greatest pests of the cotton crop — the cotton 
worm and the boll weevil. — W. L. M. in Farmers' Bulletin. 



% 



AUTUMN 

THY hair soft lifted by the winnowing wind, 
Or, on a half reaped furrow sound asleep. 
Drowsed with the fumes of poppies, while thy hook 
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers ; 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
Steady that laden head across a brook. 
Or by a cider press with patient look 
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. 
Where are the songs of spring. Aye, where are they? 
Think not of them ; thou hast thy music, too, 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day. 
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue ; 
Then in a willful choir the small gnats mourn 
Among the river shallows borne aloft 
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies ; 
And full grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn. 
Hedge crickets sing and now with treble soft 
The redbreast whistles from a garden croft, 
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. 

— John Keats. 



74 Bird Day Book 

THE INDIGO BUNTING 

HIS plumage is bright as the sapphire blue 
That dwells in the depths of Italy's sea, 
And blends with the hidden emerald hue 

To glint and glisten shimmeringly. 
His song bursts forth like the brooklet's rush, 
Or murmuring waves' sweet melody; 
And even when falls midsummer's hush, 

The indigo-bird sings rapturously: 
"See, see, sweet, sweet, chur, chur; 
Wish, wish, wish — chur, chur, chur." 

—A. B. B. 



m^ 



OUT IN THE FIELD WITH GOD 

THE little cares that fretted me, 
I lost them yesterday. 
Among the fields above the sea, 

Among the winds at play. 
Among the lowing of the herds, 

The rustling of the trees. 
Among the singing of the birds, 
The humming of the bees. 

The foolish fears of what may happen 

I cast them all away. 
Among the clover-scented grass. 

Among the new-mown hay, 
Among the husking of the corn 

Where drowsy poppies nod, 
Where ill thoughts die and good are born, 

Out in the fields with God. 

— Elisabeth Barrett Browning. 



Alabama, ipi8. 75 

PUTTING UP BIRD BOXES 

How TO Make and Whe;re; to Place; The^m 

THERE is no keener pleasure derived from any source than that 
which comes from the possession of bird neighbors. No class 
of tenants give more complete satisfaction than box-dwelling birds, 
houses for which can be cheaply and easily erected. No class of 
tenants can be relied upon for more full and complete rental, in the 
shape of noxious insects destroyed, delightful music rendered and, 
further, they are an unfailing source of amusing and instructive 
incidents. The boy or girl who puts up boxes for the birds to nest 
in, supplies them with drinking and bathing places, and provides 
food for those species which remain in winter, is certain of an 
unfailing source of pleasure, which can never be known to any one 
who pursues them with bean-shooter or stones, or simply ignores 
their presence. The chances are far better that the bird-loving boy 
or girl will make the better citizen. 

Birds, like human beings, are capable of adapting themselves to 
circumstances to a very great degree. This is well illustrated in the 
barn and cliff swallows, which in settled localities have taken to 
nesting on the rafters and under the eaves of barns, instead of upon 
the faces of cliffs as did their ancestors, and as their brethren of less 
settled sections still do. In preparing nesting places for the birds, 
it should be borne in mind that the kind which will most readily 
appeal to them are such as most nearly approach to their natural 
nesting sites. Bluebirds and house wrens are the species which 
most quickly respond to an invitation to nest in artificial sites about 
our homes, and are the least critical as to the architecture of their 
dwellings. The roughest shelters and the most ornate structures are 
both acceptable to these welcome bird neighbors, but plain and 
weather-stained boxes are most sure of an early tenant, though 
with the bluebird and house wren the appeal of a convenient knot- 
hole or natural cavity in a limb is apt to be stronger than the attrac- 
tions of any box. 

Purple martins prefer to nest in colonies, and elaborate, many- 
roomed houses are often fully occupied in sections where the birds 



76- Bird Day Book 

are still found. Unfortunately, they are comparatively rare in con- 
trast with their former numbers. Tree or white-bellied swallows 
sometimes occupy the more elaborate boxes, but have a much 
stronger preference for the more natural cavity in the limb of a 
tree than do most species. The crested flycatcher has nested in such 
natural cavities, near houses, though normally a rather retiring bird. 
The possibility of this bird for a neighbor is well worth providing 
attractions in the shape of alluring cavities. Should a pair of these 
birds accept such a site they must not be too much troubled by 
attentions until the eggs are hatched. In suitable spots the chickadee 
may avail himself of a well-chosen natural cavity provided for his 
accommodation. The flicker is sometimes not averse to accepting a 
ready-constructed home. Finally, in the orchard it may be possible 
to have a screech owl for a tenant, and be assured he is in every way 
a tenant worth having. As a mouse and rat trap he is far superior 
to the house cat, and if his vocal efforts are not musical, it at least 
has range and expression. 

Screech owls, bluebirds and chickadees are for the most part 
resident throughout the year. All of them are most apt to frequent 
the neighborhood of our homes in search of food in winter, therefore 
winter is the time to get the tenant house into place. The birds are 
not slow to avail themselves of such shelters as roosting places from 
cold and inclement weather. Becoming acquainted with the advan- 
tages of these sites in winter, it is quite natural for the birds in the 
spring to bring their mates thither, and there establish their summer 
home. 

The most natural bird homes, and such as may c^ften be pro- 
vided with the least trouble, are pieces of hollow limbs or small hol- 
low trunks of trees, or the old nesting holes of woodpeckers. If no 
limbs with suitable cavities are found, they may be made by taking 
a piece of a limb, about eight inches in diameter and fourteen to 
sixteen inches long, dividing it in half, with a rip saw, from one end 
to within about three inches of the other, where it is met by a 
right-angle cut from the side. At this point an entrance hole is made 
through the shorter or front half. The two halves are then 
hollowed out so as to form a cylindrical cavity about three and one- 
half inches in diameter, and ten inches deep, when the two halves 
are placed together and wired. It has this advantage that if a young 



Alabama, ipi8. 77 

bird dies, or the home becomes obstructed in any way beyond the rem- 
edying of the tenants, the landlord may open it and rectify the trou- 
ble. A perch is provided just below the entrance by way of a front 
porch. A similar bird home is made by boring an augur hole from 
one end of a piece of limb to within a couple of inches of the other, 
plugging the bored end and making an entrance hole near the other 
end. These nesting places are for bluebirds, house wrens, chickadees 
and tree swallows. A little larger homes of the same type are required 
for crested flycatchers, and decidedly larger ones for flickers. A good- 
sized deserted flicker home or similar cavity provides a nesting site 
to attract the screech owl. A piece of the wooden tubing from a 
chain pump, with the ends plugged and a side entrance hole made 
near the upper end, the tube being covered with bark, makes a 
very good substitute for a hollow limb. Even a long, narrow box, 
made up in about the same manner and covered with bark, answers 
very well. If old and weather-stained boards are used, the bark 
covering is not absolutely necessary, but it adds to the attractiveness, 
both from the bird and the human standpoint. 

Another method of making artificial hollow limbs, which has 
been described, is to cut limbs of the proper diameter, according to 
the tenant for whom they are intended; saw them in sections of 
proper length ; make an incision through the bark on one side from 
one end to the other; on the opposite side bore a hole through the 
bark for an entrance ; then with a wooden wedge carefully separate 
the bark from the limb until it is entirely free. Sections of the limb 
an inch and a half in length are sawed oflf and nailed into the ends 
of the bark, and over the slit in the back a strip of branch or wood 
is nailed, which in turn is nailed to the tree or other support where 
the nesting place is to rest. Small drainage holes to allow the water 
to escape from the bottom of any artificial nesting limbs or boxes 
in case rain should drive in, and sloping and protecting tops to shed 
rain, are important in all cases. Pieces of limb, natural or artificial, 
may be wired to the trunk or branches of a shade tree, or fastened 
on top of a post, which may be covered with growing vines, but care 
must be taken to guard against the raids of cats and squirrels. A 
piece of tin fastened around the trunk of the tree or the post which 
bears the bird box, in the shape of an inverted funnel, is sometimes 
used to prevent cats gaining access to the nest, and when the box is 



78 Bird Day Book 

on a post a strip of heavy square-mesh poultry wire may be placed 
on top of the post, under the box. On the grounds belonging to a 
neighbor of the writer, in a woodbine growing on a post, directly 
under the wire guard and box, a song sparrow built her nest and 
reared her brood. 

Dried gourds, hollowed out, with an opening made for an en- 
trance, hung in a tree often attract wrens and sometimes bluebirds. 
In fact, wrens will utilize old tin cans or almost any sort of recep- 
tacle. The writer saw one nest built in an old elbow of conductor 
pipe that hung in an unused chicken-house, and another on the 
ashes in a barrel ash-sifter. 

To utilize an old tomato can, the flap which has been almost 
severed from the box in removing the fruit has a small hole cut out 
by making two slits about an inch apart and the same length, bend- 
ing up the piece between the cuts. The rough edges around the 
entrance of any tin nesting receptable should always be bent over 
to prevent birds being injured by them. Such a nesting box is 
either tacked to a piece of board, which is in turn fastened up on 
the side of a building or the trunk of a tree, or it may be fastened 
directly to the building or tree by two nails driven obliquely through 
the end from the sides. An old funnel with the large end nailed 
against the side of a building or the trunk of a tree makes another 
readily provided nesting place. Cofifee pots, tea kettles, milk cans, 
lard pails and flower pots are among the discarded utensils which 
may be fastened up in suitable places for the use of the birds as 
nesting sites. 

Receptacles for wrens' nests may have entrance holes about the 
size of a silver quarter dollar, large enough to admit the wren but 
too small for the English sparrow. This bird is another enemy to 
our native birds, and one which has done more than any other 
agency to drive them from our grounds, utilizing for his own nest 
the places provided for wrens and bluebirds, and quarreling with 
and driving away even those species whose nesting habits do not in 
any way conflict with his own. Boy and girl landlords must guard 
against these undesirable naturalized citizens, removing their nests 
when they start to build, and frightening the little disturbers oflf the 
grounds. 



Alabama, ipi8. 79 

Some writers find hanging boxes or nesting limbs, hung in the 
branches of trees by wires, proof against the English sparrow, which 
is wary of any nesting site not absolutely stable. Others have not 
always found this method successful. It is probable that as a rule 
the sparrows would not trouble such domiciles. 

The older boys may obtain permission to make themselves, and 
the younger ones and the girls may get their fathers or older 
brothers to make for them, artificial chimneys to be placed on the 
roof of barn or shed, or against the side, near the roof, to afford the 
chimney swifts a nesting place. With the hollow trees have also 
gone the big old-fashioned chimneys, and the modern ones with 
small flues afford scant sites for the swifts. The artificial one 
described may be a single flue of sufficient proportions, or it may 
be divided into several flues, after the manner of the genuine chim- 
neys. Like the chimney swifts, the barn and cliflF swallows have suf- 
fered the loss of a large number of the nesting sites available to 
them in the days of the early settlement of the country. Barns are 
no longer made of rough lumber, with openings for the birds to 
enter, and abundant resting place for their nests on the old-fashioned 
rough and rounded rafters. If openings of good size are left in the 
gable ends of the barn, well up under the roof, and horizontal bits 
of boards are tacked to the rafters in the form of shelves on which 
nests can find a resting place, the barn swallows may be attracted 
to occupy the barn, while the eave or cliff swallow may be similarly 
attracted by a narrow shelf or ledge nailed on the side of the barn a 
few inches below the eaves. It is well worth while to bring back 
these feathered neighbors, not alone for the pleasure of their com- 
panionship, but for the sake of the flies, mosquitoes and other annoy- 
ing insects they will destroy. — B. S. Bowdish. 



m^ 



80 Bird Day Book 

THE BEST ROAD OF ALL 

■*^^ 

I LIKE a road that leads away to prospects white and fair, 
A road that is an ordered road, like a nun's evening prayer, 
But, best of all, I love a road that leads to God knows where. 



You come upon it suddenly — you cannot seek it out ; 
It's life a secret still unheard and never noised about; 
But when you see it, gone at once is every lurking doubt. 



It winds beside some rushing stream where aspens lightly quiver; 
It follows many a broken field by many a shining river ; 
It seems to lead you on and on, forever and forever! 



You tramp along its dusty way, beneath its shadowy trees, 
And hear beside you chattering birds or happy booming bees, 
And all around you golden sounds, the green leaves' litanies. 



And here's a hedge, and there's a cot! and then— strange, sudden 

turns; 
A dip, a rise, a little glimpse where the red sunset burns ; 
A bit of sky at evening -tiwe, the scent of hidden ferns. 



A winding road, a loitering road, a finger mark of God 
Traced when the Maker of the world leaned over ways untrod. 
See ! Here He smiled His glowing smile, and lo, the goldenrod I 

»^ 

I like a road that wanders straight ; the Wing's highway is fair 
And lovely are the sheltered lanes that take you here and there; 
But, best of all, I love a road that leads to God knows where. 

— Charles Hanson Towne. 



J 



Alabama, ipi8. 81 



NIGHTFALL 

•♦©♦ 

THE day dies. 
The last faint ember of the setting sun 
Goes out, and long, dark Night comes on apace, 
A stillness wraps the world in solemn thought, 
No song of bird, no rustle of the breeze 
Distui;bs the sacred silence of the hour. 
On rapid wing, a solitary dove 
Pursues her lonely and belated flight 
To eastward skies o'ercast with leaden clouds, 
So white, so sad, so lost in such a sky ! 
Her course is straight and swift as arrow's flight — 
And darkness swallows up the white-winged bird, 
A star peeps out — and Night is on the world. 

— Bdward M. Carney, in Collier's Weekly. 



MOURNING DOVE 

Art thou the bird that saw the waters cease? 
— Yes, and brought home the olive-leaf of peace; 
Henceforth I haunt the woods of thickest green, 
Please to be often heard, but seldom seen. 

THE mourning dove is from eleven to thirteen inches long, the 
male being olive grayish-brown above, the crown bluish-gray 
with a glaucous bloom, while the sides of the neck are glossed with 
changeable metallic purple, and the under parts are vinaceous, be- 
coming creamy buff on the lower abdomen and under tail-coverts. 
The female is slightly smaller, generally paler, and is not purplish 
below. The dark spot on the side of the neck distinguishes the bird 
from all other native doves and pigeons except the white-winged 
dove. The latter has the upper third of the wing white. Mourning 
doves feed on small seed, grain, berries, small acorns and beechnuts ; 
the dove eats no insects or other animal food. The nest is placed in 
a great variety of situations, sometimes on the ground or a bare rock 
without the presence of even a few straws, but usually it is a frail 
platform of twigs placed on bushes. There are usually two eggs 
laid, and sometimes two or three broods are raised in a season. 
The dove is esteemed very highly in Alabama as a game bird. 






32 Bird Day Book 



m 



THE MOURNING DOVE 

■♦^♦• 

SEEK open woods or tree-girt fields 
Beneath a sky of blue; 
A plaintive voice such woodland yields — 
"Coo-coo-a-coo-coo." 

You'll rarely glimpse the gray-brown wing 

Or breast of topaz hue, 
Or glistening head — a jewelled thing; 

You'll hear, "Coo-coo-a-coo." 

"Why grievest thou, O Mourning Dove? 

Is thy sweet mate untrue?" 
He only answers — to his love — 

"Coo-coo — I love you." 

By chance you'll find the flat, crude nest, 

Eggs white, or babies two; 
'Tis not the young, in voice distressed. 

That cry, "Coo-coo-a-coo !" 

Each morn and night, on swiftest wings 

To waters hid from view. 
Doves fly ; drink deep of crystal springs, 

And murmur, "Coo-a-coo." 

—A. B. B. 



m 



Alabama, ipi8. 83 

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO 

Why art thou always welcome, lonely bird ? 

— The heart grows young again when I am heard ; 

Nor in my double note the magic lies, 

But in the fields, the woods, the streams, and skies. 

T ENGTH, about 12 inches. The yellow lower part of the bill 
■^-^ distinguishes this bird from its near relative, the black-billed 
cuckoo. Range: Breeds generally in the United States and south- 
ern Canada; winters in South America. Habits and economic 
status: This bird lives on the edges of woodland, in groves, 
orchards, parks, and even in shaded village streets. It is sometimes 
known as rain crow, because its very characteristic notes are sup- 
posed to foretell rain. The cuckoo has sly furtive ways as it moves 
among the bushes or flits from tree to tree, and is much more often 
seen than heard. Unlike its European relative, it does not lay its 
eggs in other birds' nests, but builds a nest of its own. This is, 
however, a rather crude and shabby affair — hardly more than a plat- 
form of twigs sufficient to hold the greenish eggs. The cuckoo is 
extremely useful because of its insectivorous habits, especially as it 
shows a marked preference for the hairy caterpillars, which few 
birds eat. One stomach that was examined contained 250 American 
tent caterpillars; another, 217 fall webworms. In places where 
tent caterpillars are abundant they seem to constitute a large portion 
of the food of this and the black-billed cuckoo. — Biological Survey 
Bulletin. 



84 Bird Day Book 

TO THE CUCKOO 

OBIvlTHE new-comer ! I have heard, 
I hear thee and rejoice. 
O cuckoo ! shall I call thee bird, 
Or but a wandering voice? 

Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring^! 

Even yet thou art to me 
No bird, but an invisible thing, 

A voice, a mystery. 

To seek thee did I often rove 

Through woods and on the green; 
And thou wert still a hope, a love; 

Still longed for, never seen. 

—Wordsworth. 



» 



THE RAINMAKER 

STRANGE prophet bird, won't you explain 
How you foretell the coming rain? 
You called at an early morning hour, 
And by ten o'clock we had a shower. 

When no rain falls for weeks and weeks, 
And hot winds fan our blistering cheeks, 
And fields grow parched and streams run dry. 
Then don't you sometimes tell a lie ? 

—A. C. Webb. 



Alabama, ipi8. gg 



LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE 

LENGTH, about 9 inches. A gray, black, and white bird, distin- 
guished from the somewhat similarly colored mocking bird by 
the black stripe on side of head: Range: Breeds throughout the 
United States, Mexico, and southern Canada; winters in the south- 
ern half of the United States and in Mexico. 

Habits and economic status : The loggerhead shrike, or south- 
ern butcher bird, is common throughout its range and is sometimes 
called "French mocking bird" from a superficial resemblance and not 
from its notes, which are harsh and unmusical. The shrike is natur- 
ally an insectivorous bird which has extended its bill of fare to 
include small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Its hooked beak is well 
adapted to tearing its prey, while to make amends for the lack of 
talons it has hit upon the plan of forcing its victim, if too large to 
swallow, into the fork of a bush or tree, where it can tear it asunder. 
Insects, especially grasshoppers, constitute the larger part of its 
food, though beetles, moths, caterpillars, ants, wasps, and a few 
spiders are also taken. While the butcher bird occasionally catches 
small birds, its principal vertebrate food is small mammals, as field 
mice, shrews, and moles, and when possible it obtains lizards. It 
habitually impales its surplus prey on a thorn, sharp twig, or barb 
of a wire fence. — Biological Survey Bulletin. 



m 



86 Bird Day Book 

LADY OCTOBER 

LITTLE brown lady, 
Come put on your gold! 
The woodlands are burning, 
Strange stories are told 
Of rainbows for crescents 
And moonlight to show 
The hills as they glisten, 
The tides as they flow. 

Little brown lady, 
Come out with your smile 
Of saffron and scarlet 
In gay autumn style! 
The hours were so happy 
When sweet summer spun; 
Come, lady of autumn 
And dance in the sun ! 

Little brown lady. 
They said you were sad ; 
Come put on your bonnet 
And turn them all mad ! 
They'll then see your splendor, 
They'll know then the truth, 
That still in life's ember 
Burns beautiful youth. 

Little brown lady. 
Come don your red sash. 
With the moon for a buckle. 
The bright stars to flash ! 
The frost on the cobwebs. 
Like jewels in your hair. 
And, ah, the bright purple 
That dreams in the air! 
— The Bentztown Bard. 



Alabama, IQ18. 



87 



BROWN THRASHER 



■♦^^ 



FEW birds excel the brown thrasher in sweetness of song, but it 
is so shy that its notes are not heard often enough to be appre- 
ciated. Its favorite time for singing is in early morning, when, 
perched on the top of some tall bush or low tree, it gives an exhibi- 
tion of vocal powers which would do credit to a mockingbird. In- 




BROWN THRASHER. LENGTH, ABOUT llVa INCHES 

deed where the latter bird is abundant, the thrasher is sometimes 
known as the sandy mocker. 

The brown thrasher breeds throughout the United State east 
of the Great Plains, and winters in South Atlantic and Gulf States. 
It occasionally visits the garden or orchard, but nests in swamps or 
in groves standing upon low ground, and sometimes builds in a pile 
of brush at a distance from trees. On account of its more retiring 
habits it is not so conspicuous as the robin, though it may be equally 
abundant. 

The food of the thrasher consists of both fruit and insects. An 
examination of 366 stomachs showed 37.38 per cent vegetable and 
62.63 per cent animal food, the latter practically all insects. 



gg Bird Day Book 

The most noticeable peculiarity in the food is that no one item 
is greatly in excess of others, while in the case of the yellow-billed 
cuckoo, for instance, caterpillars constitute more than half the food. 
With the thrasher the largest item is made up of beetles (18.14 per 
cent). A few of these (4.83 per cent) are of useful species, mostly 
predacious ground bettles. Others (13.32 per cent) are of a more 
or less harmful character, the great bulk being May beetles and 
weevils, or snout beetles. Among the latter is the notorious cotton 
boll weevil, found in six stomachs. May beetles, when in the grub 
stage, injure roots of grass and other plants. The 12-spotted cucum- 
ber beetle, another destructive pest, also was found in many stom- 
achs. Beetles are eaten regularly throughout the year, although a 
little more from March to June than in other months. 

Ants form a surprisingly small percentage of the yearly food 
(1.88 per cent) when the fact is considered that the thrasher gets 
most of its food upon the ground, where most ants live. The small 
destruction of bees and wasps (0.93 per cent) is not surprising, as 
the thrasher is hardly agile enough on the wing to catch such swift 
fliers. These three insects, however, are very evenly distributed 
throughout the year, each month showing a small percentage. Bugs, 
mostly stinkbugs with a few negro bugs, make up 1.54 per cent and 
are very regularly distributed. One bird taken in Illinois had eaten 
chinch bugs, but none were found in stomachs from farther south. 
Flies (1.76 per cent) are evidently not a favorite food of the 
thrasher, and nearly all of those eaten were taken in November. 
One stomach secured that month in a Mississippi cotton field was 
filled with flies except 6 per cent of fruit of "French mulberries"; 
the bird had probably found a colony of flies hibernating in a crevice 
and had devoured the whole lot. 

Caterpillars (5.95 per cent) stand next to beetles in the thrash- 
er's food, and are taken every month except November ; that month, 
however, is represented by only five stomachs. Grasshoppers and 
crickets would seem to be very available to the thrasher, as the 
insects live on the ground, where also the birds get their food ; but, 
unlike the meadowlark, these birds do not esteem grasshopper diet 
enough to go out in the sunshine to seek it. This food (2.43 per 
cent for the year) is taken to some extent every month, the maxi- 
mum (8.5 per cent) in September. 

A few insects of other groups are picked up occasionally. In 
all they amount to only one-fourth of 1 per cent. Spiders (0.58 



1 



Alabama, ipi8. 89 

per cent) are eaten now and then, and myriapods (thousand-legs) 
to a somewhat greater extent (2.24 per cent), but very irregularly, 
the maximum (8 per cent) in January. A few miscellaneous ani- 
mals, like crawfish, sowbugs, snails, and angle worms, make up 1.26 
per cent. Bones of lizards, salamanders, and tree frogs (in all, 0.93 
per cent) were found in 11 stomachs. 

Of the insects eaten by the brown thrasher there is only one 
class to which exception can be taken — the predacious beetles. That 
these insects render some service to man is beyond reasonable doubt, 
though some of them also do injury. Their destruction, then, is not 
an unmixed harm, but in any case the more numerous noxious insects 
eaten by the thrasher more than compensate for the useful beetles 
incidentally destroyed. 

The vegetable food of this bird is nearly equally divided between 
fruit and a number of other substances, of which mast is the most 
prominent. Wild fruit, the largest item in the vegetable portion 
(19.94 per cent), was eaten every month in varying quantities, the 
month of maximum consumption (45.69 per cent) being September; 
January and February, with dried-up fruit from the last summer's 
crop, stand next. Altogether about 30 species of wild fruits or 
berries were identified in the stomachs. Those most eaten are blue- 
berries, huckleberries, holly berries, elderberries, pokeberries, hack- 
berries, Virginia creeper, and sour gum. Some seeds not properly 
classified as "fruit" were found, as bayberry, sumac — including some 
of the poisonous species — pine, and sweet gum. 

Domestic fruit, or what was called such, was found in nine 
months, from April to the end of the year, most of it (53.19 per 
cent) in July. Raspberries or blackberries, currants, grapes, cher- 
ries, and strawberries were positively identified by their seeds, but 
as all of these grow wild, it is probable that much that is conven- 
tionally termed domestic fruit is really from uncultivated plants. 
The aggregate for the year is 12.42 per cent. Most unexpected in 
the thrasher's diet was mast, principally acorns, although some of it 
was so finely ground up that it was not possible to tell its exact 
nature. It is also somewhat a matter of doubt as to just where to 
draw a dividing line between mast and seeds, so that the proportion 
of each is somewhat uncertain. In the case in hand the total for the 
year is estimated at 23.72 per cent. Mast was eaten every month 
except August, but mostly in fall and winter — November, the month 



90 Bird Day Book 

when acorns are abundant and fresh, showing the greatest quantity 
(57.4 per cent). 

Grain (2.57 per cent) was found in the stomachs for six months, 
but in only February, March, and May were there noteworthy per- 
centages. March shows 12.37 per cent, the other two slightly less. 
The grain was nearly all corn, with a little wheat, but from the 
season in which it was taken most of it evidently was waste. 

The farmer has nothing to fear from depredations on fruit or 
grain by the brown thrasher. The bird is a resident of groves and 
swamps rather than of orchards and gardens, so that it comes but 
little into contact with the products of husbandry, and does not prey 
upon them extensively when it does. The useful insects that it eats 
are amply paid for by its destruction of noxious ones. — F. B. B. L., 
in Farmers' Bulletin. 



m 



THE BROWN THRASHER 

■♦©♦• 

DARTING about in the thickets, 
His red-brown coat to veil, 
Foraging there amongst dead leaves, 

Thrashing his long brown tail; 
Perching aloft in the treetops. 

Where all may hear and see, 
Carols the bright brown thrasher. 
Long and melodiously. 

"Listen, O listen! he's saying; 

"Glisten, glisten, you brook! 
The sweet warm showers have beguiled the flowers ; 

O look! dear children, look! 
The golden sun is shining. 

The earth is in gay array; 
The world is rife with a wealth of life ! 

'Tis May, fair winsome May!" 

—A. B. B. 



Alabama, 1918. 91 

THE GAME LAW 

PROHIBITS the killing of wild birds other than the game birds 
enumerated below, except English sparrows, hawks, owls, crows 
and buzzards. 

The open season on game birds is as follows: Wild turkey- 
gobblers, from December 1st to April 1st; quail, November 1st to 
March 1st ; doves, August 1st to March 1 ; swan, geese, brant, ducks, 
rails, coots, mud hens, sand pipers, woodcocks and curlews, Septem- 
ber 1st to March 15th ; snipe and plover, November 1st to May 1st. 

The killing of wild turkey hens is at all times prohibited. 

Prohibits any pitfalls, deadfalls, scaffold, cage, snare, trap, 
net, salt lick, baited hook or baited field, or any other similar device, 
or any drug, poisonous chemicals or explosives, for the purpose of 
injuring, capturing or killing any protected bird or animal; also 
prohibits hunting protected birds or animals between dark and day- 
light. Unlawful to kill or capture any song or insect destroying 
bird at any time. 

Open season on deer, November 1st to January 1st, and pro- 
hibits killing of doe, or female deer, at all times. 

Elk are protected for period of ten years. 

Open season on squirrels from August 1st to the following 
January 1st and May 15th to June 15th. 

Fixes the following limits for each person in one day: One 
deer, ten squirrels, two turkeys, and twenty-five game birds. 

Prohibits the sale or offering for sale of protected game birds 
or animals. 

Prohibits the shipping or carrying of game except openly and 
in the possession of those who have hunter's license, as required by 
law. Prohibits carriers from accepting game to be carried in any 
other way, either within the State or without the State. Prohibits 
absolutely the carrying or shipping of live game. 

Makes it unlawful to hunt on the land of another without writ- 
ten permission, except when in company of owner or agent of said 
land. 

John H. Wallace, Jr., 

State Game and Fish Commissioner, 

Montgomery, Ala. 



92 Bird Day Book 



THE BARN SWALLOW 

Swallow, why homeward turn'd thy joyful wing? 

— In a far land I heard the voice of spring ; 

I found myself that moment on the way ; 

My wings, my wings, they had not power to stay. 

LENGTH, about 7 inches. Distinguished among our swallows 
by deeply forked tail. Range : Breeds throughout the United 
States (except the South Atlantic and Gulf States) and most of 
Canada; winters in South America. 

Habits and economic status : This is one of the most familiar 
birds of the farm and one of the greatest insect destroyers. From 
daylight to dark on tireless wings it seeks its prey, and the insects 
destroyed are countless. Its favorite nesting site is a barn rafter, 
upon which it sticks its mud basket. Most modern barns are so 
tightly constructed that swallows can not gain entrance, and in 
New England and some other parts of the country barn swallows are 
much less numerous than formerly. Farmers can easily provide 
for the entrance and exit of the birds and so add materially to their 
numbers. It may be well to add that the parasites that sometimes 
infest the nests of swallows are not the ones the careful housewife 
dreads, and no fear need be felt of the infestation spreading to the 
house. Insects taken on the wing constitute the almost exclusive 
diet of the barn swallow. More than one-third of the whole consists 
of flies, including unfortunately some useful parasitic species. Bee- 
tles stand next in order and consist of a few weevils and many of the 
small dung beetles of the May beetle family that swarm over the 
pastures in the late afternoon. Ants amount to more than one-fifth 
of the whole food, while wasps and bees are well represented. — 
Biological Survey Bulletin. 




o 

-I V 

J .2 
< f 

OS 
< 



2-^ 



k 



Alabama, ipi8. 93 

THE BIRDS OF KILLINGWORTH 

"Wherk's your kingdom, little king? 

Where's the land you call your own? 
Where's your palace and your throne ? 

Fluttering lightly on the wing 
Through the blossom world of May." 



"Never a king by right divine, 

Ruled a richer realm than mine ; 
What are these to song and wings ? 

Everywhere that I can fly. 
There I own the earth and sky ; 

Everywhere that I can sing, 
There I'm happy as a king." 

WHY should we save and care for the birds? We should care 
for the birds because they are such a blessing to us. Our girls 
and boys should build little bird houses in shade trees around the 
house and the barn. Trees may be pruned to make inviting homes 
for the birds. You may think this work is unprofitable, but they 
will more than pay for care, by the good work they do in ridding the 
barn of flies, gnats, and mosquitoes. 

There is a distressing amount of ignorance among us all con- 
cerning the birds. We live among them all our lives and know 
them not, by whistle, song, or feather. We should learn to know 
them as we do other familiar things. They are worth millions of 
dollars to us, but still we ignore them. 

Severe winters, when the snow covers the weed tops, and a coat- 
ing of ice covers the trees, so they cannot get seeds nor grubs, do 
not let the cats eat them, but feed them. 

Birds are man's friend and man should be the birds' friend. 

Think of their graceful movements and their beautiful songs. 
Listen to the mockingbird and to the song sparrow. When we see 
them flit in and out, giving us a glimpse of their pretty coats, the 
day is brighter than that day is without the songs of birds. 

The mockingbird is the great vocalist in the South. By many 
people it is considered to be the best singer in America. It sings, 



94 Bird Day Book 

from morning 'till night, sweet songs that will keep us cheerful and 
happy. 

The Kentucky cardinal, beautiful of plumage, amiable in dis- 
position, and a brilliant whistler, cheers us in our day's work. 

Aside from these services, the greatest work of birds is to de- 
stroy insects, and rid the fields of weed seeds. 

Some of the insectivorous birds are the warblers, whippoorwills, 
swallows, chickadees, and flycatchers. 

Think of the cotton saved to the planter by the birds destroying 
the young of the boll weevil. A single boll weevil multiplying in 
one year amounts to hundreds of thousands. At this rate our farm- 
ers would be unprofited to try to farm ; but why do not the farmers 
think of the work that the birds do for them? Without the birds, 
the farmers would have no occupation. 

Birds rid the trees of insects that would destroy them, and cause 
great loss to us. But what birds drive away insects? Even the 
crows that you dislike, are good, farmers, for your crops. You call 
the birds thieves but your fields would be badly ruined without them. 

When a farmer gathers a good crop of cotton, corn, or other 
things, he takes the credit to himself and says, "I made a good crop." 
Poor birds do not get any credit for their good work. Instead of 
saying, "1 made a good crop," say, "The birds and I made a good 
crop." 

After the great task the birds render to us, you wish to kill 
them. Why? Just because they take a few grains or a few cher- 
ries or berries ; and all the time the birds are working for us. Would 
you rather hear the whir of insects than the songs of birds ? If not, 
protect them? And you kill them for millinery purposes. Do not 
be so cruel as to kill the poor, innocent birds that do more, in some 
ways, to the farm than we can ourselves. 

We should never wear a stuffed bird or even bird feathers that 
cannot be secured without taking their dear lives. 

There is something so unselfish, so generous, and so uplifting 
in the song of a bird. They are God's ministering angels and their 
blessings fall on rich and poor alike. Do not kill the birds ! 

Do you know what you are doing, dear boys, 

With a sling, gun, bow and arrow, 
When you ruthlessly cripple the delicate wing 

Of even a little brown sparrow? - - - 



Alabama, iqi8. 95 

Do you know the same God made the birds and you boys, and 
both for the very same reason. 

Oh, children, drop the gun, the cruel stone, 

O listen to my words. 
And hear with me the little one's moan. 

Have mercy on the birds ! 

Many of our most charming poets give us pictures, dear and 
tender, of these little friends of ours. Among these is Wordsworth in 
the "Skylark," and our much-beloved poet, Longfellow, gives a plea 
for protecting our birds as our best friends in, "The Birds of Kil- 
lingworth." Listen what he says : 

It was spring in Killingworth. Everything was putting on its 
gown of green. The little brook was singing happily as it would pass 
by some violets and say, "Wake up ! Spring is here." 

Some of the birds had come back from their long winter visit. 
They were as happy as could be singing and flitting all around. 

"The robin and the bluebird piping loud, 
Filled all the blossoming orchards with their glee." 

The birds thought the people would be glad to see them; but 
when the birds came the farmers were angry and tried to make plans 
to kill them. 

The people called a town meeting in order to plan a good way 
to kill the birds. While the people were having the meeting, the 
birds peeped in to see who was there. On the platform sat the 
squire that lived in the white house ; and there was the preacher with 
some lilies in his hand. Many farmers, too, were crowded in the 
meeting. 

Poor birds; they listened how the men talked about them, and 
they thought the people were glad to see them. 

"Ill fared it with the birds both great and small, 
Hardly a friend in all that crowd they found. 
But enemies enough who every one, 
Charged them with all the crimes under the sun." 

But at the meeting the birds had one good friend. He was the 
school teacher. While the others were speaking of ways to kill the 



96 



Bird Day Book 



birds, he sat sad, for he loved them, 
stood and said : 



When they had finished, he 



"God sent them to comfort us. Think of 
The thrush that carols at the dawn of day, 
The oriole in the elm, the noisy jay. 
The bluebird balanced on some topmost spray 
Linnet and meadowlark and all the throng. 
That dwell in nests and have the gift of song; 
Think of your woods and orchards without birds, 
Of empty nests that cling to bough and beams." 

The farmers listened to the teacher, but they laughed and said, 
"We must kill the birds." Day by day the birds were killed. The 
cruel work went on until not a bird was left in Killingworth. "Now 
we shall have good crops," said the farmers; but when summer 
came the days were hot, the grass yellow. Hundreds of caterpillars, 
worms, and bugs ate the grain and vegetables. The trees were leaf- 
less. When the people walked near them, worms dropped on them. 
Then the farmers knew that because they had killed the birds, there 
would be no harvest. How sorry they felt, but the birds were dead. 

One day in the next spring a strange sight was seen in Killing- 
worth. This is what the people saw : 

"A wagon overarched in evergreen, 
Upon whose boughs wicker cages hung, 
All full of singing birds." 

The wagon was taken to the square of the city. Then the doors 
of the cages were opened and the birds flew out. There was never 
a song of a bird sung sweeter than those sung in Killingworth that 
summer. 

What do you think of the people of Killingworth? Do you see 
by their selfish first thoughts, what trouble they brought upon them- 
selves. Let us care for our birds ? Some say, "Kill the birds ; they 
are useless," but I say protect the birds, and make the conditions 
for their increase favorable. "As little messengers of good cheer, 
as exponents of grace, song and living beauty, as examples of paren- 
tal love, they help to brighten and uplift our lives." — Willie Reed 
Marsh. 



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